Six navies test submarine search and rescue skills off Australia

The six-nation submarine search and rescue exercise Pacific Reach 2019 has concluded off the coast of Western Australia.

Capt. Patrick Friedman, commander, Submarine Squadron 11, pilots the Royal Australian Navy submarine rescue vessel, LR5, during Exercise Pacific Reach. Photo: US Navy

Held at Fleet Base West and in the Western Australian Exercise Area, the drill involved assets from Australia, Japan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States.

Australian Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the exercise was vital to developing interoperability and trust with partner nations.

“During Exercise Pacific Reach the Royal Australian Navy’s submarine force and our regional partners demonstrated readiness and the ability to respond to the unlikely event of a submarine incident at sea,” Reynolds said.

“Each nation’s submarine search, escape and rescue organisations took part in simulated rescues.

“HMAS Sheean and ROKS Lee Sun-sin, both successfully transferred participants while submerged using the James Fisher Submarine Rescue System submersible LR5, with support from rescue units from Japan and the United States.

“Joint maritime exercises like Exercise Pacific Reach strengthen the already deep relationship that exists between Australia and our partners.”

Exercise Pacific Reach is a triennial multinational event and was last held in the Republic of Korea in 2016.