Foxtrot ships in the South China Sea

HMA ships Hobart and Vigorous are in the Philippines after making a trilateral transit of the South China Sea.

Royal Australian Navy ships sailed in a task force with United States Ship Milius and Japanese ship Kirisame.

Hobart Navigation officer Lt. Dean Gilbert said the transit was constructive.

“This was another great opportunity while deployed on Regional Presence Deployment 22-4 to engage with key partners and improve our interoperability in the Indo-Pacific,” said Lt. Gilbert.

“I enjoyed taking on these challenges and making the bridge team an efficient and highly functional part of Hobart to ensure the proper execution of the navigation plan.

During the transit, task force personnel conducted activities aimed at increasing interoperability and communications between the three partners and promoting an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific.

The activities, which included replenishment-at-sea operations, combined warfare and training, and a photographic exercise, culminated in a maneuver known as “foxtrot formation”.

During this maneuver, all the ships of the task group reverse the order of the ships in column. Starting astern, each ship retreats to port (left) or starboard (right) as instructed and accelerates to pass the lead ship.

Able Seaman Hayley Redman was at the helm of the 7,000-ton guided-missile destroyer. Hobart as the ships lined up and separated.

“It was very rewarding because I got to have an experience that a lot of others don’t have,” said Able Seaman Redman.

Royal Australian Navy Chief of Staff Commodore Ray Leggatt addresses the opening ceremony of Exercise Sama Sama Lumbas in Cebu, Philippines. Photo: Leading Seaman Daniel Goodman.

Hobart and Vigorous are part of a regional presence deployment throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

“It’s important because it builds relationships with our regional partners,” said Able Seaman Redman.

The two ships sailed to Cebu on a clear, sunny morning to participate in Exercise Sama Sama-Lumbas, a navy-to-navy exercise between the Philippine Navy, U.S. Seventh Fleet, and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Task Force Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Royal Navy.

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