Ballarat on target in Malabar

HMAS Ballarat conducts a calibration firing of its five-inch gun. Photo: Leading Seaman Shane Cameron

Ballarat on target in Malabar

HMAS Ballarat  proved to be a highly capable partner during the first phase of Exercise Malabar. 

The ship joined naval vessels from India, Japan and the United States last month to conduct a range of high-end training, including air-defence and anti-submarine exercises, aviation training, communications training and replenishments at sea.

In the heart of Ballarat, the operations room, the ship’s officers and sailors worked together to identify surface targets. 

Principal warfare officer Lieutenant Michael Morgan said communication was exceptional, with the participating navies working together to achieve successful outcomes in each serial.

“These types of serials allow us to continually develop our tactics and improve our performance at sea, alongside our partners, to build understanding, capability and interoperability,” Lieutenant Morgan said.

“The efficacy and potency of Ballarat was comprehensively established in the gunnery serial, with the ships working together effectively and the shots were on target.

“The capability of Ballarat’s crew to identify and engage threats in the exercise areas displays our ability to project power at sea.” 

Night offered little respite from the hectic pace of Exercise Malabar, with the Japanese, Indian, Australian and American crews undertaking anti-submarine training.

The contribution of sailors, including Chief Petty Officer Boatswain Lachlan Sommerville, on the ship’s 50-calibre machine guns strengthens Ballarat’s  self-defence. 

“The effectiveness of a well-trained crew cannot be underestimated,” Chief Petty Officer Sommerville said.

“It is a massive privilege and responsibility to lead and train with such a professional team.”

While undertaking the major serials of Exercise Malabar, Ballarat’s crew continued to conduct a range of daily activities, including maintenance, damage-control drills, cross-decking and officer-of-the-watch manoeuvres. 

Exercise Malabar was an opportunity to enhance Australia’s maritime capabilities and build interoperability with close regional partners India, Japan and the United States.

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