Indo-Pacific Endeavour is one of Defence’s most important annual activities. It is a major contribution to regional security and stability and deepens Australia’s engagement and partnerships with regional security forces.
The first iteration in 2017 was conducted in South-East Asia. 2018 saw the Indo-Pacific Endeavour Joint Task Group conduct military-to-military engagements and joint training activities in the South-West Pacific. The activities were designed to develop shared understanding, trust and the capacity to jointly respond to events in our region. The activities reinforced Australia’s regional relationships and also our security and humanitarian response capabilities.
Conducted from June to September 2018, the Joint Task Group was made up of 1,200 personnel and four of the nation’s most capable maritime assets: HMA Ships Adelaide, Melbourne, Toowoomba and Success.
The first port of call for Adelaide and Melbourne was Fiji, while Toowoomba and Success weighed anchor in Vanuatu.
In Fiji, 700 ADF personnel conducted combined training with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. Activities included disaster assistance planning and security training as well as community engagement to reaffirm and expand the ability of the ADF and Fiji Military Forces to operate together.
The engagement program with Fiji was designed together and boosted the existing interoperability between the two militaries.
In Port Vila, Vanuatu, the ADF and local security forces worked collaboratively to conduct training and engagement activities with the Vanuatu Police Force, Vanuatu Mobile Force and the people of Vanuatu. Navy engineering specialist sailors also assisted the Vanuatu Police Force Maritime Wing to conduct maintenance work on Pacific Patrol Boat RVS Tukoro.
The next port visit for Adelaide and Melbourne was Nuku’alofa, Tonga, where the ADF conducted a range of activities shoulder-to-shoulder with His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga. The most important of these activities were amphibious exercises on nearby Pangaimotu Island, where the two countries were joined by United States Marine Corps and Sri Lankan Navy Marines.
As part of this visit, the then-Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, gifted five Unimog trucks to His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga.
The Joint Task Group also visited Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to conduct training and community engagement activities, including women in leadership and medical workshops, and maintenance work to local schools, community facilities, and historic sites.
Additionally, the Joint Task Group conducted commemoration services for the loss of HMAS AE1, Australia’s first submarine, which sank off the coast of Rabaul in 1914, and the sinking of HMAS Canberra during the WWII Pacific campaign.