Joint Task Force 661 has sailed for Colombo on the first leg of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 to deepen Australia’s engagement with regional partner nations.
Four ships and more than 1000 ADF personnel set sail on March 9 to support the Government’s commitment to an open, secure and prosperous region.
Commander JTF 661 Air Commodore Richard Owen said his view of mission success was strengthening regional relationships and developing our people.
“It’s about how much people smile,” Air Commodore Owen said.
“When we’re in port conducting activities and exercises, how much are the people enjoying it? Are they smiling, are they laughing, are they having a good time? And, when we leave a port, do those people want us to come back?”
Defence Industry Minister Senator Linda Reynolds praised the capabilities within the Task Force.
“IPE is critically important to the Australian Government and demonstrates our commitment to regional partners,” Minister Reynolds said.
“We are demonstrating what we are able to contribute, such as world-leading deployable health service support and humanitarian supplies.”
IPE 19 will encompass a wide range of activities, including disaster assistance planning, multinational naval manoeuvres and training serials with partner security forces.
Senator Reynolds also thanked the families of those deployed on IPE.
“You enlist, but your families are conscripted,” she said.
“So on behalf of the Government, I would like to thank your families; thank you so much for what you’re doing for Australia.”
IPE 19 aims to strengthen relationships and promote security and stability with Australia’s key regional partners including Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia.
HMA Ships Canberra, Success, Newcastle and Parramatta are joined by force elements from Army, Air Force and representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.