The Australian Defence Force (ADF) began deploying ships and forces to Southeast Asia and Hawaii where they will take part in the biennial RIMPAC, the world’s largest maritime exercise, over the coming months. Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the regional deployment demonstrated Australia’s enduring commitment to the Indo-Pacific and to the increasing capability of the ADF.

Royal Australian Navy Leading Seaman Boatswain’s Mate Zackary Kelly, from Sydney, signals from the landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Adelaide (L01) to the Royal Canadian Navy supply ship MV Asterix while conducting a replenishment-at-sea during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in 2018 (PHOTO: US Navy)

“It’s important during global challenges that Australia continues to demonstrate its commitment to its partners and to a secure and prosperous region,” Reynolds said. “The ADF conducts regular military-to-military engagements throughout the Indo-Pacific every year. These engagements deepen Australia’s partnerships with security forces in the region and enhances our ability to operate with partner nations during security or humanitarian crises.”

Reynolds said Australia’s participation in RIMPAC reflected the closeness of the alliance with the United States and the strength of our military relationships with participating nations. “Since the 1970s, Australia’s participation in RIMPAC has helped foster and sustain the partnerships that secure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Reynolds said. “The exercise provides the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise and cultivate ties with the armed forces of Pacific Rim countries.

Once outside Australian waters, the ships will refuel and resupply while underway in accordance with protocols that mitigate COVID-19 related risks.

Commodore Michael Harris.

Commander of the Joint Task Group, Commodore Michael Harris, recognised the resilience of the personnel deployed and the contribution of their families and loved ones. “This deployment demonstrates our ability to conduct sustained operations as a joint force, and we acknowledge the support our families and friends without whom we cannot achieve these tasks,” Harris said.

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