Exercise Kakadu this year is set to be the biggest yet with as many as 19 vessels, 34 aircraft and more than 3000 personnel from 25 countries expected.
The Final Planning Conference, held last month in Darwin, drew together 75 in-person attendees from 10 countries, as well as additional Australian and international representatives participating via video conference.
In true Northern Territory style, conference delegates were greeted by a unique mascot – a 4-metre-long wooden crocodile affectionately nicknamed: ‘Fluffy’.
The conference addressed the at-sea exercise program and associated logistics – including COVID-19 planning – along with preparing for a vibrant and enjoyable harbour phase comprising of briefings, a senior leaders’ conference, cultural event, sports and social functions.
“As Navy’s most significant international engagement activity, Exercise Kakadu is vital for building relationships between participating countries. This is why we’ve adopted the theme ‘Partnership, Leadership, Friendship’ for KA22,” Exercise Director Captain Pete Bartlett said.
Exercise Kakadu has grown in size and complexity since its inception in 1993. KA22, the biennial exercise’s fifteenth iteration, follows its cancellation in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The exercise provides an opportunity for regional partners to undertake multinational maritime activities ranging from constabulary operations to high-end maritime warfare in a combined environment.