Australia, partners bolster warfare skills in Sulu Sea exercise

Royal Australian Navy ships from five nations, including HMA Ships Hobart and Stalwart, completed exercise Sama Sama Lumbas in the Philippines in October.

The Royal Australian Navy guided-missile destroyer Hobart and auxiliary oiler replenishment ship Stalwart operated with ships from the Philippine Navy, US Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Royal Navy, and a variety of aircraft. 

Photo: Australian Navy

The exercise comprised surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare serials, a search-and-rescue exercise and replenishments at sea.

Hobart Commanding Officer Commander Andrew Pepper said it strengthened practical cooperation and enhanced interoperability.

“We are all now a more effective, stronger team which has combined our knowledge and capabilities towards a common goal,” Commander Pepper said.

A key goal of the exercise was to facilitate a replenishment at sea with the Philippine Navy guided-missile frigate BRP José Rizal.

Stalwart Commanding Officer Commander Steve McCracken said Stalwart and the Sea Training Group combined to support the replenishment. 

A gunnery exercise also demonstrated regional capability and coordination, as ships sailing in formation fired close-range guns at a floating target.

Boatswains Mate Seaman Louie Ford said it was extremely rewarding to fire a Typhoon Mk 25 gun from a console inside Hobart.

The ships participated in Exercise Sam Sama Lumbas as part of a routine regional presence deployment.

Photo: Australian Navy