Australia — HMAS Toowoomba leads multi-national exercise in Bab El Mandeb Strait

HMAS Toowoom­ba has suc­cess­ful­ly con­clud­ed com­mand of a mul­ti-nation­al exer­cise with Turk­ish Navy ves­sels and French Mirage fight­ers, con­tribut­ing to mar­itime secu­ri­ty in the Bab El Man­deb Strait, in the Mid­dle East.

Exer­cise Scim­i­tar Exo­cet was con­duct­ed between 22 and 23 July 2011 in the vicin­i­ty of the Gulf of Aden and involved Toowoom­ba, two Turk­ish Navy ves­sels and French Mirage fight­er air­craft.
Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of HMAS Toowoom­ba, Com­man­der Andrew Quinn, said the exer­cise proved the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy’s inter­op­er­abil­i­ty with the Turk­ish Navy against an air-borne attack.

The exer­cise demon­strat­ed the Com­bined Mar­itime Force’s resolve to main­tain safe and unfet­tered access for ship­ping through a vital inter­na­tion­al strait,” Com­man­der Quinn said.

The crew honed their skills just before kick­ing off the exer­cise by respond­ing to a real world dis­tress call from a vessel’s crew which thought it was under attack.”

Just hours before the exer­cise began, Toowoom­ba received a call from a mer­chant ves­sel stat­ing that it was under attack.

Toowoomba’s
Sea­hawk heli­copter was launched and, along with the ship, pro­vid­ed sur­veil­lance and escort sup­port to mer­chant traf­fic.

On 23 July, Toowoom­ba was also afford­ed a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty when she engaged in advanced air war­fare exer­cis­es with French Mirage fight­er air­craft as part of Exer­cise Scim­i­tar Exo­cet.

The Mid­dle East can be a very demand­ing and volatile envi­ron­ment in which to oper­ate,” Com­man­der Quinn said.

To date, the crew of HMAS Toowoom­ba have risen to every chal­lenge in a pro­fes­sion­al and com­mit­ted fash­ion, main­tain­ing Australia’s high­ly respect­ed posi­tion as a coali­tion part­ner.”

HMAS Toowoom­ba is present­ly deployed in sup­port of Oper­a­tion SLIPPER in the Mid­dle East Area of Oper­a­tions (MEAO), oper­at­ing as part of the Com­bined Mar­itime Force (CMF).

The CMF mis­sion includes mar­itime secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions in the Gulf region, the mar­itime envi­ron­ment around the Horn of Africa, and counter piracy/terrorism oper­a­tions in the Gulf of Aden.

As the 26th rota­tion of an RAN ves­sel to the MEAO, Toowoom­ba has been on patrol sup­port­ing the CMF mis­sion since 2 June 2011.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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