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Block construction for Navy's three Hobart-class
Air Warfare Destroyers began in April. Each hull
is constructed from 31 blocks, weighing around
200 tonnes apiece. Blocks for the first hull, HMAS
Hobart (III), are expected to be shipped to Adelaide
for assembly into a complete warship around mid-
Stuart made it home from operations just in
time for Anzac Day, arriving at Fleet Base East on
April 25. It was the ship's third deployment to the
Gulf and Navy's 22nd rotation since September
An important regional milestone occurred in
April, too, with the Australian and Indonesian
defence forces undertaking their first ever joint
maritime security patrol. Conducted from April
16-27, the operation involved patrol boats HMA
Ships Maryborough and Albany, an AP-3C Orion,
Indonesian corvettes KRI Wiranto and Hasan Basri
and an Indonesian NC-212 aircraft.
Commander Northern Command and OIC of
the ADF Task Group, CDRE David Gwyther, said
the patrol, "sends a message to those who may
contemplate conducting illegal activities in our
maritime zones: the Indonesian Armed Forces and
the ADF are working together -- so beware."
This was followed soon after by Exercise
Cassowary 2010 -- a joint training exercise held
between the Australian and Indonesian navies from
May 8-18. During Cassowary two ACPBs undertook
exercises in communications, tactical manoeuvres,
boarding operations, small boat transfers and dam-
Government released its 2010-2011 budget on
May 11. The Defence focus was on an additional
$1.1 billion for operations and a separate $1.1
billion for enhanced force protection. Navy-specific
announcements were relatively low-key, with $99.2
million for upgrades and new facilities at HMA
Ships Harman, Creswell and Albatross.
The annual US-led humanitarian assistance
mission, Pacific Partnership 2010, got underway in
late May. Running for over three months, this year's
mission visited Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, East
Timor and Papua New Guinea. In all, more than
300 ADF personnel contributed and over 100,000
patients received free medical and dental care.
The Navy family was shocked by the death of
Commander Australian Fleet, RADM Nigel Coates,
on June 2, following a battle with cancer. RADM
Coates served 35 years in the RAN.
In a signal to Navy personnel, CN said, "With
his passing, Navy has prematurely lost an out-
standing individual and consummate professional.
[RADM Coates] committed his entire working life
to serving his country with great skill, dignity and
Then-Defence Minister Senator John Faulkner
said, "Whether on the bridge of a warship or on
the parade ground at ADFA, Nigel Coates' leader-
ship and gentle nature was an inspiration to all
who knew him."
Tragedy struck again on June 17 when
Warramunga sailor LSCSO Andrew Wakely disap-
peared while swimming at Keleti Beach, Tonga,
during a stopover on the way to Exercise RIMPAC.
LSCSO Wakely's family released a statement,
saying, "Andrew was a loving and generous per-
son, who was admired and respected by those
around him. Andrew proudly served 10 years in
the RAN. We take comfort in knowing that his final
hours were spent with some of his best friends."
FBE took a star turn on June 1 when actor
Pauley Perrette, who plays lab technician Abby
Sciuto on the TV show NCIS, visited ADFIS investi-
gators and toured HMAS Kanimbla.
2010 was a big year for the Australian
Hydrographic Service (AHS), which celebrated its
90th birthday in June. Established in 1920 as the
Hydrographic Department of the Navy Office in
Melbourne, the AHS is responsible for surveying
and charting over 30,000km of coastline and more
than one eighth of the planet's water surface.
Also in June, the most extensive health study
in ADF history got underway. The Military Health
Outcomes Program, or MilHOP, is a package of
studies which will run over five years.
Navy's minor war vessels continued their busy
schedule with the Minor War Vessel Concentration
Period conducted out of Darwin over two weeks
during June. Three ACPBs and two Landing Craft
Heavy vessels practised their warfighting skills with
assistance from 723 Squadron, which provided an
A109E helicopter, and Army's 2nd Cavalry Regiment,
which provided a variety of vehicles.
Beginning in late June and running until the
start of August was the largest multinational mari-
time exercise in the world: Rim of the Pacific, or
RIMPAC. Conducted biennially, RIMPAC is based
out of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii.
RIMPAC '10 comprised 14 nations, 30 ships,
100 aircraft and 22,000 personnel. Among them
were HMA Ships Warramunga, Kanimbla and
Newcastle, a detachment of 50 personnel from
Australian Clearance Diving Teams One and Four,
the RAN Band Sea Deployment Group, soldiers
from 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, and
The exercise was noteworthy for Warramunga,
which became the first ship to fire the new
Harpoon Block II anti-ship missile in a joint mul-
tinational environment, helping sink ex-USS New
Orleans. The Australian frigates also participated
in an anti-air missile exercise, where Warramunga
fired two short-range Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles
(ESSM), while Newcastle fired one ESSM and a new
Standard Missile 2 Block 3A.
Meanwhile, Kanimbla's ship's company gained
invaluable experience operating in a complex
amphibious environment. The ship was home for
a US Marine Corps Combat Assault Company and
their amphibious assault vehicles. All up, more than
500 personnel sailed in Kanimbla, with 200 work-
ing through their competency task journals and
100 undertaking on-the-job training.
This experience and training is expected to pay
off generously when Navy's new Canberra-class
Landing Helicopter Docks enter service in 2014.
In a further milestone, this was the final
RIMPAC for the Sea Kings of 817 Squadron. The
venerable helicopters have served Navy since the
mid-1970s and are slated for retirement in 2012.
JulyWewak arrived in Solomon Islands on July
5, where she and sister ship Brunei supported
Operation Anode -- the ADF's contribution to the
Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands
(RAMSI). Wewak's crew trained local police and
RAMSI elements to embark and disembark vehicles
from the craft, improving the authorities' mobility
around the archipelago nation.
Brunei went on to commemorate the sinking
of HMAS Canberra I during the Battle of Savo
Island in 1942, and attend Guadalcanal Day
Commemorative Services around Solomon Islands.
Back home COMAUSFLT RADM Steve Gilmore
launched the Fleet Operating Concept (FOC), which
will improve the way Navy goes about training its
people and turn around a decline in opportunities
to conduct realistic training.
"The FOC represents a total approach to har-
monising Fleet activities, so as to meet Navy's pre-
paredness obligations, sustain our base capabilities,
assure the safety and development of our people
and provide the wherewithal to successfully transi-
tion to the Future Fleet," RADM Gilmore said.
An A109E visited Tasmania in July, bringing the
Navy message to two schools and a University of
Tasmania-run medical students' conference.
Also in July, Navy began a trial of an alterna-
tive crewing model for major surface combatants,
ated to m
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