The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Task Group has conducted exercises with the French Navy in South China Sea, as part of its deployment to North and South East Asia.
As part of the deployment, RAN’s HMA Ships Arunta and Stuart made port visit to Zhanjiang, China, while HMAS Sirius visited Da Nang, Vietnam.
Following the visits, the RAN vessels have rendezvoused at sea with the French frigate FNS Vendemiaire in international waters off the coast of Vietnam.
According to the navy, the meeting of French and RAN warships offered an opportunity to exercise together in a bid to improve level of interoperability and maritime awareness in the region.
Chief of Joint Operations vice admiral David Johnston said: "The conduct of regional naval engagement is an important component of relationship building.
"The Vendemiaire, being based out of Noumea, is well-known in our region and the opportunity for our ships to train together is always beneficial."
Both the RAN and French vessels performed a series of routine tactical maritime training activities, including ship manoeuvring and flying operations with Arunta’s embarked Seahawk helicopter.
The event also included a refuelling at sea activity with Sirius and a live firing using close range weapons against a static target.
The Noumea-based French frigate has visited Australia for the International Fleet Review in Sydney in 2013 and in Sydney in April this year.
Recently, the RAN conducted naval exercise with the People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) during the port visit to China.
The combined exercise included joint search and rescue training, tactical evolutions, communications drills, and a live fire activity.
Image: HMA Ships Stuart and Arunta conduct a screenplay exercise with PLANS Yuncheng in the South China Sea. Photo: courtesy of ABIS Kayla Hayes / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.