The US Navy and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) have joined forces to conduct operations in the South China Sea.

An Anzac-class frigate of the RAN HMAS Parramatta (FFG 154) started sailing with Ticonderoga-class guided missile-cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52).

The vessels later joined the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52).

The combined operations of the ships were initiated with force integration training and manoeuvring exercises between Parramatta and Bunker Hill.

USS Bunker Hill commanding officer Captain Kurt Sellerberg said: “It is great to be operating with the Australians again.

“Every time I have deployed to this region, and to the Middle East, I have had the good fortune to operate with the RAN.”

USS America started the operations with precision manoeuvre, including Barry in the South China Sea.

America Expeditionary Strike Group Commander Rear Admiral Fred Kacher said: “We look forward to every opportunity we get to work with our stalwart Australian allies at sea.

“To bring this much combat capability together here in the South China Sea truly signals to our allies and partners in the region that we are deeply committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Operations including integrated live fire exercises, coordinated helicopter operations, and small boat force protection drills were performed with Parramatta.

Additionally, the missions conducted with Parramatta involved command and control integration and manoeuvring interoperability.

The combined exercises provided the navies of both countries opportunities to partner in all warfare areas and strengthen their bond further.