By Leading Seaman Jarrod Mulvihill
HMAS Parramatta joined French National Navy ships FS Tonnerre and FS Surcouf – operating as a Joan of Arc task force – to complete a cooperative passage through the South China Sea.
The Sydney-based Anzac-class frigate had recently completed the Japanese-led exercise Arc21 with the participation of Tonnerre and Surcouf.
The three ships conducted a range of training activities, including communication exercises, at-sea refueling approaches, maritime maneuvers and series of joint flights using the Parramatta MH-60R and Panther de Tonnerre helicopters. .
Commander Parramatta, Commander Anita Nemarich, said the time the ship spent sailing in company was another great opportunity to practice basic skills and maintain a commitment to the values, goals and interests of common security of the two countries.
“The Royal Australian Navy and the French Navy have recently taken advantage of multiple opportunities to work together in the region,” said Commander Nemarich.
“It’s great to be able to continue on the tremendous work of HMA Ships Anzac and Sirius who recently worked with the Joan of Arc Task Force during Exercise La Pérouse to build our interoperability as nations sharing the same ideas.
Task Force Commander Jeanne D’Arc and Commander Tonnerre, Captain Arnaud Tranchant, also found it helpful for the two Marines to work together.
“Working as a company with the Australian Navy, with whom we share the same commitment to freedom of navigation, means strengthening our bonds and our ability to operate together for the same purpose,” said Captain Tranchant.
“This is also a great opportunity for our Sea Cadets to work with a Sea Partner that they will most likely meet again in their future assignments.
Parramatta is on a two-month deployment in Southeast and Northeast Asia. Operating as a task force with HMAS Ballarat, the two ships lead a number of Navy-to-Navy engagements with partner countries in the region.
This article was published by the Australian Department of Defense on May 26, 2021.
Featured Photo: A French Navy helicopter from FS Tonnerre approaches HMAS Parramatta as the two ships sail together in the South China Sea. Photo: Leading Seaman Jarrod Mulvihill