The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) two-week long multinational maritime exercise, Kakadu 2022 (KA22), has concluded in the Northern Australian and Darwin regions.

An official closing ceremony organised by Northern Territory administrator Vicki O’Halloran was held to mark the end of the exercise.

It was the 15th iteration of the biennial exercise and had the theme of ‘partnership, leadership and friendship’.

Australian Fleet Commander rear admiral Jonathan Earley said: “Exercise Kakadu is the RAN’s most significant international engagement activity and is vital for building relationships between participating countries.

“I thank our international partners for their contribution to this maritime activity, which helps to reinforce the importance of peace, stability and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific.”

Held from 12 to 24 September, KA22 involved more than 3,000 sailors and officers from 20 countries.

Assets participating in the exercise included 34 aircraft, 14 naval vessels and one submarine.

During the 12-day exercise, the multinational forces carried out a series of drills, including 15 air warfare serials, 13 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises, 17 gun-firing drills and other high-end gunnery training scenarios.

The exercise also saw several aerial drills being undertaken, including 163 fixed-wing aircraft sorties.

All the exercises were intended to allow the participating nations’ forces to enhance their capabilities such as seamanship.

Other exercises undertaken during KA22 included humanitarian and disaster relief, maritime law enforcement operations, maritime warfighting, and ASW and anti-air warfare combined scenarios.

Earley added: “The post-Covid environment allowed us once again to build relationships through a range of cross-decking opportunities, where sailors and officers were immersed in the way partner navies do business, creating enriching learning and development opportunities.

“I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Northern Territory Government and members of the Northern Territory community for their continued support of the Australian Defence Force and interest in Exercise Kakadu.”

The next iteration of the Kakadu exercise is due to take place in 2024.