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RAAF aircraft begin support for RAN-led Exercise Kakadu

written by Charbel Kadib | September 12, 2022

Major Mochar Ruby from the Indonesian Navy gives the thumbs up after landing at RAAF Base Darwin during Exercise Kakadu 2018. (Defence, POIS Yuri Ramsey)

More than 30 RAAF aircraft will take part in the RAN-led Exercise Kakadu 22 when it begins on Monday.

The biennial exercise, which first commenced in 1993, is the navy’s flagship international engagement activity, and this year 3,000 personnel from more than 20 countries will take part.

In addition to an at-sea exercise program, KA22 is expected to involve a harbour phase comprising briefings, a Fleet Commanders and Senior Leaders’ conference, cultural events, sports and social functions.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, welcomed the arrival of personnel from partner nations.

“Exercise Kakadu is Navy’s most significant international engagement activity and is vital for building relationships between participating countries,” VADM Hammond said.


“The theme for this year’s exercise is ‘Partnership, Leadership, Friendship’ and we aim to demonstrate that in spades over 15 days of intense activity at sea and ashore.”

Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley, noted the importance of KA22, which marks the fifteenth iteration.

“Exercise Kakadu provides an excellent opportunity for regional partners to undertake multinational maritime activities ranging from constabulary operations to high-end maritime warfare in a combined environment,” RADM Earley said.

“As our exercise is being conducted in the Northern Australian Exercise area, I would like to extend a thank you to the Northern Territory community for their continued support and interest, and a warm welcome to our international participants to a beautiful part of our country.”

KA22 is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, 24 September.

The commencement of the RAN-led international exercise comes less than a week after Exercise Pitch Black wrapped, featuring 100 aircraft and 2,500 military personnel from 17 different nations.

The training program, which began on 19 August, was mostly based at RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal in the Northern Territory.

It represented the largest international contingent in Pitch Black’s history, with Australian forces joined by counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, the UK, and the USA.

Australian Aviation reported last month how the RAAF and German Air Force would train together for the first time during Pitch Black.

The Luftwaffe sent six Eurofighter Typhoons, three A330 multi-role tanker transports, and an A400M.

To mark its participation, the German Air Force painted one of its Eurofighters in a special livery that included the Australian and Japanese flags.

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