Home Asia Pacific Australia’s premier naval maneuver will be its largest yet

Australia’s premier naval maneuver will be its largest yet

Exercise Kakadu 2022
Illustration: Multinational ships sail in formation during Kakadu 2018. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Australia is poised to kick off its flagship biennial regional exercise Kakadu 2022 (KA22), which is set to be one of the biggest yet.

Starting Monday, September 12, more than 15 vessels, more than 30 aircraft and around 3,000 personnel from more than 20 countries will be participating.

Led by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force, KA22 has grown in size and complexity since its inception in 1993.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, welcomed personnel from participating countries to Australia and the valuable partnerships that would be forged during the exercise.

“Exercise Kakadu is the navy’s most significant international engagement activity and is vital for building relationships between participating countries,” VADM Hammond said.

“The theme for this year’s exercise is ‘Partnership, Leadership, Friendship’ and we aim to demonstrate that in spades over 15 days of intense activity at sea and ashore.”

KA22, is the exercise’s fifteenth iteration, following its cancellation in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, welcomed the return of the exercise.

“Exercise Kakadu provides an excellent opportunity for regional partners to undertake multinational maritime activities ranging from constabulary operations to high-end maritime warfare in a combined environment,” RADM Earley said.

“As our exercise is being conducted in the Northern Australian exercise area, I would like to extend a thank you to the Northern Territory community for their continued support and interest, and a warm welcome to our international participants to a beautiful part of our country.”

The at-sea exercise program will be complemented by a harbor phase comprising briefings, a Fleet Commanders and Senior Leaders’ conference, cultural events, sports and social functions.

KA22 is being conducted in the Northern Australian exercise area from September 12 to 24, and will be joined by Japan’s converted aircraft carrier JS Izumo for the first time.

Kakadu kicks off on the heels of the Australian Air Force’s major international maneuver Pitch Black, which wrapped up on September 8. That maneuver saw 100 aircraft from 17 nations take part. For the first time in the history of the biennial maneuver, Germany, Japan and the Republic of Korea participated fully in the exercise