The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) lead Hobart-class destroyer, HMAS Hobart, has carried out a series of gunnery procedures as part of exercise Keen Sword 2022.

The latest iteration of multi-national warfighting exercise Keen Sword involved participation of naval forces and assets from the US Canada, Japan and Australia.

The activity was held off the coast of southern Japan between 8 and 18 November.

During its deployment, the RAN’s Hobart-class vessel carried out a series of drills alongside other nations’ submarines and surface combatants. 

As one of the exercise phases, called gunnery exercise (gunex), the participating ships, including Hobart, Canada’s Halifax-class ship HMCS Winnipeg and Japan’s JS Asahi and Setogiri, test fired their biggest guns and weapon systems.

RAN HMAS Hobart gunnery officer lieutenant Dominic Harradine said: “The more of these exercises we do the better prepared we are in the future.

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“The importance of this exercise was that it enabled the practice of multinational surface gunnery procedures.”

Held in the North Pacific Ocean near Japan, the gunex involved all the ships to target a small remote-controlled boat, named ‘Hammerhead’, that was launched by the Canadian vessel Winnipeg in choppy seas.

The exercise saw test firing of five-inch gun system aboard HMAS Hobart.

Harradine added: “Despite the small target disappearing [from view] in the wave troughs, the serial was a success, and the target was destroyed.”

RAN personnel Harradine was responsible for planning and executing the gunnery procedures, as the on-watch principal warfare officer of the exercise.

Besides, the test firing of five-inch gun aboard HMAS Hobart was performed by the electronics technician able seaman Ki Ludowici.

Ludowici said: “I was controlling everything from a console, from moving the gun to releasing the rounds.”