After three weeks of intensive training and complex manoeuvres across three states, around 17,000 military personnel from seven nations are ready to say goodbye.
Exercise Talisman Sabre (TS21), Australia’s largest bilateral defence exercise with the United States, officially concluded today at a ceremony in Townsville.
Commander Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Major General Jake Ellwood, said the exercise tested the strength and resilience of participating nations.
“Australia and the United States came together with the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Republic of Korea to challenge ourselves at sea, on land, in air, and across the information/cyber and space domains.
“This was a very complex series of training events and I am just so impressed by what our collective forces have achieved.
“Having safely operated in the middle of a pandemic is an incredible achievement and a testament to the strength of our partnership.”
Some of the highlights of TS21 include the following:
- Australia welcomed the Republic of Korea as a participating nation for the first time. Their Destroyer, ROKS Wang Geon, contributed to a maritime warfare scenario involving around 20 ships and 60 aircraft.
- The US MIM-104 Patriot surface to air missile was fired for the first time on Australian soil.
- 120 Spartan Paratroopers from Alaska embarked in two Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III aircraft in Darwin and jumped over the skies of Charters Towers to join Australian land forces.
- Amphibious forces from Australia, United States, Japan and the United Kingdom operated from the same ship (HMAS Canberra) for the first time as an integrated landing force.
- US Space Command deployed to Australia for Exercise Talisman Sabre for the first time. This team exercised important new capabilities in the space domain.
The multi-national forces have undertaken co-ordinated live fire activities, amphibious beach-landings, war at sea and in the air, land and urban operations, space operations and cyber missions.
Land component commander, US Brigadier General Eric Strong, praised the skill and professionalism of participants.
“This is really important work we’re doing here with our key allies, the Australians. I’m grateful for their hospitality and support,” Brigadier Strong said.
“Our service-members are doing a great job and I couldn’t be prouder.
“It’s a significant commitment to be away from home and family, but when I look at the lasting impacts of our efforts: increased readiness, stronger bonds with allies and partners and a more secure region – I know it’s worth it.”
Exercise Talisman Sabre was held from 14-31 July across Queensland, Northern Territory and Evans Head in New South Wales.
“This vital training would not have been possible without the support of Indigenous and local communities, councils, landowners and governments,” Major General Ellwood said.
“We thank you for your patience and good will. Realistic training makes us a stronger defence force and a safer nation.”
Attendance at the closing ceremony at Kissing Point in Townsville included the Hon Mr Phillip Thompson OAM MP, and Mr Doug Sonnek, United States Acting Charge D’Affairs.