Exercise KAKADU 2018 has commenced onboard the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Canberra-class landing helicopter dock flagship HMAS Canberra in Northern Territory.

Exercise KAKADU is a joint exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force.

Conducted both onshore and at sea off the coast of Darwin, this year’s event involves the participation of 27 countries deploying more than 3,000 personnel, 23 navy vessels, 21 aircraft, and a submarine.

Australian Fleet commander rear admiral Jonathan Mead said: “Having 27 countries from such a wide spectrum involved in Exercise KAKADU is a fantastic opportunity for us all to be able to understand each other’s abilities, and to be able to develop the confidence to work together effectively.”

“Exercise KAKADU 2018 is designed to be carried out into three phases, which include a harbour phase, a force integration training phase, and a free-play phase.”

In addition to Australia, the other participating nations include Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, the People’s Republic of China, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the UAE, the US and Vietnam.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said: “This premier international exercise will provide invaluable training opportunities for maritime security and surveillance for all involved.

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“Participation by nations from the South West Pacific, South East Asia and from the wider Indo-Pacific further strengthens the bonds we enjoy with our close regional partners.”

Exercise KAKADU 2018 is designed to be carried out into three phases, which include a harbour phase, a force integration training phase, and a free-play phase.

KAKADU is a premier multilateral regional maritime engagement exercise that is conducted twice a year in Darwin and the Northern Australian Exercise Areas (NAXA).

This year’s exercise is scheduled to continue until mid-September.