Backbone of the Australian Navy departs Sydney for “Fleet Certification Period 2020”

Major combatants of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Stuart, Hobart, Arunta and Sirius departed Sydney on 17th February in order to begin the sea phase of Australian Navy’s first major exercise for the year, Fleet Certification Period 2020 (FCP20).

FCP20, a critical activity for the RAN, is a high-end warfighting exercise that will certify the participating ships and their crews ‘ready to deploy’ on behalf of the Australian government.

The four destroyers are planned to proceed to Bass Strait where they will engage with five other Australian naval assets as well as military aircraft from Australia, the U.S. and New Zealand.

Commodore of the Flotillas (COMFLOT), Commodore Michael Harris, said FCP20 would further develop RAN’s ability to engage in complex and dynamic warfighting activities based around sea and air control capabilities.

“FCP20 will test competencies in a range of scenarios, including high-end warfighting in the blue water ocean environment, amphibious operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, similar to our recent Bushfire Assist mission,” CDRE Harris said.

Additionally, the exercise will be joined by aircraft including a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A, a US Navy P-8, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K and three Royal Australian Navy MH-60R helicopters.

This iteration will be the first time a Hobart Class destroyer has participated in an FCP.

Involving more than 2,000 military personnel, the sea phase of FCP20 is held in Bass Strait from 17 February to 6 March.

FCP20 will include port visits in Melbourne and Portland, Victoria, and Burnie, Devonport and Launceston, Tasmania.

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The combatants left the mother-port in formation