The Royal Australian Navy has completed the tenth iteration of the multilateral submarine search and rescue exercise, Pacific Reach 2019, off the coast of Western Australia.

Pacific Reach 2019, a triennial exercise sponsored by the Asian Pacific Submarine Conference, was conducted at Fleet Base West and in the Western Australian Exercise Area.

Participants included Australia, the US, Malaysia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore.

An additional 12 nations participated in Pacific Reach as observers.

Pacific Reach is designed to enhance interoperability among partner nations.

Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “During Exercise Pacific Reach the Royal Australian Navy’s Submarine Force and our regional partners demonstrated readiness and the ability to respond to the unlikely event of a submarine incident at sea.

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“Each nation’s submarine search, escape and rescue organisations took part in simulated rescues.”

The exercise involved three participating rescue systems, one each from the US Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The systems performed a total of 31 manned dives.

Australia’s Collins-class submarine, HMAS Sheean, executed nine open hatch mates and personnel transfers with Korea’s submarine ROKS Lee Sunsin.

Submarine Squadron 11 commander captain Patrick Friedman said: “This exercise is an example of the importance of operating with international partners.

“Being able to successfully conduct rescue operations with multiple nations not only increases rescue efficiency, but it also builds the foundation for joint operations necessary to achieve common theatre security objectives.”