HMAS Canberra left Fleet Base East on June 6th to begin the RAN’s third regional presence deployment of the year. The deployment will last for four months and will incorporate a number of exercises beyond RIMPAC. During RIMPAC, Canberra will be joined by HMA ships, Warramunga and Supply, and potentially an Collins class submarine. In the air, two Australian P-8A Poseidon’s will support the Australian group, as will Navy clearance divers and Army personnel aboard Canberra.
A Platoon from His Majesty’s Armed Forces (Tonga) has also embedded within the joint landing group aboard Canberra.
Separately, another Australian group made up of HMA ships Sydney and Perth will participate in multilateral exercises with Japan, South Korea, and The United States. HMAS Supply will also support them during their time away. The deployment marks the first time that Australia has participated in the 3rd Fleet-led ballistic missile defence (BMD) exercise Pacific Dragon. Australia is currently in the process of acquiring SM-6 missiles to provide its Hobart class air warfare destroyers, like HMAS Sydney, with a terminal stage BMD capability. Australian participation in this year’s iteration will help to build Australia’s capacity, ahead of its new missiles arriving.
New Zealand’s HMNZS Aotearoa
HMNZS Aotearoa, the Royal New Zealand Navy’s largest and newest ship, left Devonport Naval Base on June 13th for a lengthy Asia-Pacific deployment that will take in RIMPAC and a variety of other exercises. As well as Aotearoa, Navy divers and members of the 16th Field Regiment will contribute to the event. Overall, 185 personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will partake in RIMPAC 2022.
While RIMPAC will be the headline event of Aotearoa’s deployment it will be far from the only significant milestone. During her five-and-a-half-month mission, she will visit Japan and participate in the Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces (JMSDF) international fleet review. While the NZDF is remaining tight-lipped about what other events and exercises Aotearoa will participate in, we’re likely to see her operating extensively with partners and allies in the region.