Fleet Synthetic Training – Joint 20/72 (FST-J), a virtual trilateral naval warfare exercise held this month featured participation from the USA, Canada and Australia.

The latest edition of FST-J featured the maiden participation of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Australian and US navies have conducted virtual naval exercises over the past decade.

The week-long exercise used a virtual environment to test several tactical and operational elements of sea combat. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warship HMAS Parramatta participated using the Anzac-class frigate simulator at HMAS Watson in Sydney. The other participating ships were linked via simulators in Hawaii and other locations in the US, Yokosuka in Japan, and Nova Scotia in Canada.

“The complex virtual scenarios probe future security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and allow us to leverage the collective experience of our joint and international team,” said Commander of the US Navy’s Carrier Strike Group Five, Rear Admiral Will Pennington. “Smart technology reduces costs and expands the problem set that we examine. It was especially useful this year in reducing risk within the Covid-19 environment.”

One of FST-J’s scenario’s involved HMAS Parramatta fighting in real-time as part of an expeditionary strike group working in conjunction with a number of carrier strike groups to secure friendly territory and defeat an adversary force.

Simulated aerial assets were contributed to the scenario by the US Marine Corps, Air Force, and Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

FST-J was important in proving the trilateral maritime warfare training possible between Australia, Canada and the US and provided us with the opportunity to test our combined training and tactics, share expertise and sharpen our complementary fighting capabilities, said Director of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Force Generation Directorate, Captain Pete Bartlett.