Exercise Kakadu 2018, Australia’s largest multilateral maritime and air exercise, has drawn to a close in Darwin after a fortnight of activities aimed at enhancing regional maritime security.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said Kakadu was a military highpoint for Australia as well as a significant diplomatic achievement, with this year’s exercise involving 23 ships, 21 aircraft, a submarine and 3000 personnel from 27 visiting nations.
“The size and success of Kakadu is evidence of Australia’s growing reputation as a trusted and capable regional partner,” Minister Pyne said.
“The exercise provided a useful opportunity to work with naval forces from across the Indo-Pacific and promote greater levels of regional military cooperation.
“We look forward to working with such a diverse group of nations again in the future.”
Participants, split into three task groups, tested their ability to work together in a range of scenarios including live fire, air defence, navigation, refuelling, ship-to-ship communications, as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief activities.
Kakadu also saw several South Pacific nations conduct activities focused on patrol boat capabilities designed to increase seamless regional interoperability.
“The attendance of PNG, Cook Islands, Fiji and Timor-Leste was particularly pleasing, providing an opportunity to strengthen patrol boat interoperability and people-to-people links,” Minister Pyne said.
“Australia will build on the lessons learned from Kakadu 18 as we continue to enhance our security partnerships across the region.”