What do 23 ships and submarines, 21 air craft and over 3000 personnel and observers have in common – they are all participating in Exercise KAKADU 2018 in Darwin NT, Australia.
From 30th August, 27 nations from around the world are in the Top End participating in a joint-enabled, biennial exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy and supported by the Royal Australian Airforce. Exercise KAKADU is Australia’s largest maritime exercise that aims to foster and strengthen effective security and humanitarian partnerships across the Indo-Pacific region through a series of training and engagement activities.
Exercise KAKADU 2018 Preview – video courtesy of Royal Australian Navy
Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead said “Darwin was an obvious choice when it came to deciding where such an exercise was held”
“Darwin is closer to five regional capital cities than it is to Canberra, so I think it makes a lot of sense to hold such a large maritime exercise in this area,” he said.
Vessels were not only moored out in Darwin Harbour but ships from Canada, Malaysia, India, Japan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka were tied up along-side Fort Hill Wharf. And as you can imagine, with so many personnel arriving by sea into Darwin, a high level of logistics was required to organise transport for personnel to attend meetings, functions and events around Darwin City.
Territory Limousine Service was on standby offering assistance where required, particularly for the Admiral and Captain of the Sri Lankan Navy Ship ‘Sindurala’.
But it wasn’t all work and no play for the visiting crew and officers. Many took advantage of their leave time and were out and about exploring Darwin and the Top End.
With this being the first time most of the international naval personnel have visited not only Australia, but the Top End, day trips to Litchfield National Park in our luxury vehicles was very popular, along with private sightseeing tours around Darwin City including East Point, Mindil Beach Markets and Sky City Casino.
Our international friends also spent time shopping for souvenirs and mementos to take home to their families and enjoyed many of the restaurants throughout Darwin City. Exercise KAKADU definitely provides a great boost to the local economy.
Exercise KAKADU runs until 15th September, so make sure you take the opportunity to get down to the Darwin Waterfront for a bit of ship spotting.
Navy Daly - Published on 01 September 2018 LEUT Gary McHugh (author), Department of Defence (photographer) LSIS Nicolas Gonzalez