Royal Australian Navy (RAN) HMAS Parramatta has joined French Navy (Marine Nationale) vessels FS Tonnerre and FS Surcouf — operating as the Jeanne d’Arc Task Group — to complete a cooperative passage through the South China Sea. The Sydney-based Anzac class frigate had recently completed the Japan-led Exercise Arc21 with Tonnerre and Surcouf also taking part. The three ships conducted a range of training activities, including communication exercises, replenishment-at-sea approaches, maritime manoeuvers and joint-flying serials using Parramatta’s MH-60R and Tonnerre’s Panther helicopters.
Commanding Officer Parramatta Commander Anita Nemarich said the ship’s time sailing in-company was another great opportunity to practice core skills and maintain a commitment to both nations’ shared values, goals and security interests. “The Royal Australian Navy and the French Marine Nationale have enjoyed multiple opportunities to work together in the region recently. It is great to be able to continue on the tremendous work of HMA Ships Anzac and Sirius who worked with the Jeanne d’Arc Task Group recently during Exercise La Perouse building our interoperability as like-minded nations,”Commander Nemarich said.
Commander of the Jeanne D’Arc Task Group and Commanding Officer Tonnerre Captain Arnaud Tranchant also found value in both navies working together. “Operating in-company with the Australian Navy, with whom we share the same commitment to freedom of navigation, means reinforcing our ties and our capability to operate together with the same purpose. It is also a great occasion for our naval cadets to be working with a partner Navy they will very likely encounter again in their future postings,” Captain Tranchant said.
Parramatta is on a two-month deployment to South-East and north-east Asia. Operating as a task group with HMAS Ballarat, the two vessels are conducting a number of navy-to-navy engagements with partner nations across the region. HMAS Parramatta (FFH 154) is an Anzac-class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of ten warships built for the RAN and Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) based on the MEKO 200 design, Parramatta was laid down in 1999, launched in 2003, and commissioned into the RAN in 2003. In early 2015, Parramatta was docked to undergo the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade. She completed these upgrades in April 2016.