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Australian Navy starts first major drill of 2020

HMAS Hobart
HMAS Hobart getting underway from Sydney. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Navy has kicked off Fleet Certification Period 2020 (FCP20), the first major evolution of the year that will take place in the vicinity of Bass Strait.

HMAS Hobart, the navy’s lead air warfare destroyer, frigates Stuart and Arunta, and tanker Sirius got underway from Sydney on February 17 for three weeks of exercises with five other Australian ships and submarines.

The exercise will also include military aircraft from Australia, the United States and New Zealand.

Commodore Flotillas (COMFLOT) Commodore Michael Harris OAM, RAN said FCP20 involves over 2,000 military personnel and focuses on high-end warfighting to certify participating units to deploy on behalf of the Australian government.

“FCP20 will test competencies in a range of scenarios, including high-end warfighting in the blue water ocean environment, amphibious operations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, similar to our recent bushfire support activities,” Commodore Harris said.

In conjunction with FCP20, Australian Clearance Diving Team One will also conduct water mine counter measure operations as part of a mine counter measures task group deployed to North Eastern Tasmania.

FCP20 will include port visits to Melbourne and Portland in Victoria and Burnie, Devonport and Launceston in Tasmania.

Participating aircraft include a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A, a United States Navy P-8, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K and three RAN MH-60R helicopters.

FCP20 also marks the first time a Hobart-class destroyer, HMAS Hobart, has participated in a fleet certification period.