Ballarat adds naval gunfire to Talisman Sabre
By Lieutenant Commander Ryan Zerbe
21 July 2021
HMAS Ballarat has added the force of its five-inch gun to a blue-water combat event as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre.
The Anzac-class frigate, using the call sign Goldrush, fired a number of high-explosive rounds about seven nautical miles off the coast of Townshend Island with US Navy destroyer USS Rafael Peralta.
Ballarat's sister ship, HMAS Parramatta, and Japanese destroyer JS Makinami, also joined the assault on the island within Shoalwater Bay.
The opening barrage on Townshend Island was followed by air attack by AH-1Z Viper, UH-1Y Venom and Tiger helicopters and F/A-18A/B Hornets, and a barrage of nine US and Australian M777 Howitzers.
Commanding Officer Ballarat Commander Antony Pisani said the serial demonstrated how participating nations operated in partnership across the sea, air and land domains.
"This activity shows Australian frigates and American and Japanese destroyers can draw from the same tactical playbook to take action against multiple targets seamlessly," Commander Pisani said.
"We're well-versed in refining our navy-to-navy skills in the region so, when directed, we can quickly integrate our assets and generate a combined effect, adding to the air and land actions over the horizon."
Principal Warfare Officer Stuart Francis said the operations room team functioned smoothly during the training event.
"We were in solid communications with Rafael Peralta and once we advised we were 'guns up, ready for fire,' the team were able to track our shore target and fire quickly," he said.
"We deployed in April and over the course of our deployment we've been able to hone our efficiency across the ship so that when we have to shift into a firing serial like this, we're operating quickly, particularly with the United States.
"We've also been working consistently with other navies across the region during our deployment, which has set us up well to integrate with our partners and prepare us for Talisman Sabre."
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