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Operation MANITOU

Contributing to stable, rules-based global security is one of Australia's national objectives. Since 1990, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has conducted maritime security operations in the Middle East Region, which remains strategically important to Australia's economic and trade interests.

Operation MANITOU is the current name for the Australian Government's contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region (MER). An enhanced security environment ensures Australia's safe and open access to the region while fostering trade and commerce.

Operation MANITOU is under command of Joint Task Force 633 (JTF633), which is the Australian National HQ in the Middle East Region. The Royal Australian Navy routinely sends a Major Fleet Unit (MFU) to the MER for assignment to Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Combined Maritime Forces is composed of thirty one nations and has three principle task forces:

  • Combined Task Force 150, which conducts counter-terrorism and maritime security operations;
  • Combined Task Force 151, which conducts counter piracy operations;
  • Combined Task Force 152, which conducts Arabian Gulf maritime security operations.

The Australian Defence Organisation also provides a small staff that is permanently embedded within the Combined Maritime Forces Headquarters. This team, which presently comprises eight Royal Australian Navy personnel and one DSTG scientist, also undertakes the role of the Maritime Operations Support Group. The Royal Australian Navy also provides an International Liaison Officer for the UK Maritime Trade Operations Office and continues to deploy a major fleet unit (MFU) on a four-month rotation within the Middle East Region.

The RAN ship currently deployed is HMAS Arunta (II). This is the 64th rotation of a Navy vessel to the MER since 1990.


HMAS Arunta is the second of the Royal Australian Navy's eight Anzac class frigates. The Arunta is based on the German Meko 200 frigate, designed and built by Tenix Defence Systems at Williamstown, Victoria.

Arunta is a long-range frigate capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction.Arunta's combat capabilities have been significantly improved under under the Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade program, a world class program that provides an enhanced sensor and weapons systems capability.

The ship can embark Navy's latest multi-role Sikorsky S-70R Seahawk helicopter which has enhanced anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and Search and Rescue capabilities. Embarkation of a helicopter also provides the ship with the capability to deliver air-launched missiles and torpedoes.

Arunta is the second ship of the name. The name "Arunta" comes from the Arrernte Aboriginal people (also spelt "Arunda" or "Aranda") located in central Australia.

Selection of the Arunta name and original motto 'Conquer or Die' recognises the ship's proud history and the ongoing and special relationship with the ARRERNTE Aboriginal people.

The previous ship assigned to Operation MANITOU was HMAS Perth.

From Navy website.