An international team from Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 recently travelled to the Seychelles for Exercise Cutlass Express 2018 from 29 January to 7 February 7 to improve maritime law enforcement capacity and promote national and regional security in eastern Africa. A team of Royal Australian Navy and Royal Canadian Navy sailors from CTF150 headquarters joined Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Warramunga, fresh from her string of successful drugs interdictions earlier this year to participated in exercises with regional and partner navies.

Cutlass Express is an annual exercise sponsored by US Africa Command and conducted by US Naval Forces Africa to advance maritime safety and security, promote regional collaboration, and shape security force assistance efforts. The Australian led CTF150 participated in Cutlass Express 18 representing Combined Maritime Forces.


Commodore Mal Wise, Commander CTF 150, reflected on the larger impact that exercises like Cutlass Express have on the region and stated “The instruction provided by combined mentor teams in the past has shown very positive results. This approach to training allows partner nations to benefit from their experiences, building an enduring capability in the region.”


CTF 150 mentoring teams deployed to Maritime Operation Centres (MOC) in Victoria, Seychelles to assist MOC watch keepers from partner and regional nations to enhance procedures to effectively operate in the maritime environment.  The collaborative training was based on realistic scenarios including both training ashore and dynamic exercises at sea. HMAS Warramunga mentored regional navies and security forces, instructing them in boarding techniques used when investigating vessels of interest.


The Chief Communicator from CTF150 headquarters, Chief Petty Officer Mark Baker spent nine days in the Seychelles, working with regional navies he said “We worked closely with the United States Navy, mentoring Maritime Operations Centres watch keepers from Mauritius, Tanzania and the Seychelles. I worked with teams of regional watch keepers, guiding them through the working rhythm and reporting of a battle watch. It gave me a real sense of achievement to see their progress and the rapid development of their abilities.”

This was the seventh iteration of Cutlass Express and participants include African, European, and Atlantic nations as well as international organizations like Combined Maritime Forces and European Union Naval Forces.