Royal Australian Navy (RAN) HMAS Ballarat’s crew felt the full force of eight United States Navy VAQ-132 Squadron EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft when they flew overhead during the ship’s Regional Presence Deployment last month. The aircraft made a number of passes over Ballarat, conducting various profiles and jamming procedures, while the ship’s crew attempted to counter those measures. The high-tempo activity gave HMAS Ballarat’s ship’s company an opportunity to hone their air warfare skills, particularly the combat systems operators.
“This activity enabled Ballarat and VAQ-132 to conduct realistic high-end warfighting training. This activity supported both units in maintaining their readiness and preparedness to respond to any contingency in the Indo-Pacific region. It also illustrated the strength of the Australia-United States alliance, the mutual trust and respect both countries have for each other, and the precision and skills of our sailors and aviators,” Commander Pisani said.
“This was my first time working with Growlers, and it was very exciting and completely different to working in a training environment. My training throughout my career has set me up in preparing for these activities and today was where all that training came together. A realistic scenario like this allowed me to use all sensors available to me to provide a clear tactical picture to command.” Able Seaman Franklin said.
HMAS Ballarat is on a three-month deployment to South-East and north-east Asia. HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155) is an Anzac-class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The frigate was laid down in 2000 and commissioned into the RAN in mid-2004. Since entering service, Ballarat has been involved in border protection as part of Operation Relex II, was deployed to the Gulf for Operation Catalyst, and involved in the Operation Northern Trident 2009 round-the-world voyage. In April 2021, “Ballarat” took part in the search for the missing Indonesian Navy submarine KRI Nanggala (402).