Show of strength for Talisman Sabre

Australian Army soldiers, of 2nd Batallion, the Royal Australian Regiment, approach Langham Beach, Queensland, during Talisman Sabre 2019. Photo: Sergeant 1st Class Whitney C. Houston

Show of strength for Talisman Sabre

The stage is set for Army and its United States (US) partners to undertake high-end joint land combat against a capable enemy force during the field component of Exercise Talisman Sabre 21 (TS21).  

Starting this month, the ninth iteration of the biennial exercise will see Army forces advancing to contact as part of a campaign to defeat an enemy force operating along the north-eastern coastline. 

The land component of TS21 will focus on a combined Australian-US effort to close with and destroy an enemy force that has lodged and is defending key terrain. 

The land manoeuvre will be executed in concert with amphibious and maritime manoeuvre forces, supported by offensive air support, and the overarching coalition joint force operations will be coordinated by the ADF’s Deployable Joint Force Headquarters.

The major Australian land manoeuvre force undertaking joint land combat during TS21 is based around the 3rd Brigade, supported by joint forces. The brigade will have US forces fighting alongside the Townsville-based soldiers.

The amphibious operations will be comprised of forces from the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, who will provide the joint pre-landing force, and the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR), who will provide the ground combat element. 

Commander of ADF’s Deployable Joint Force Headquarters Major General Jake Ellwood said the latest TS exercise was essential in guaranteeing that high levels of interoperability were further enhanced between US and Australian forces.

“Talisman Sabre demonstrates that American and Australian militaries can quickly join forces and execute highly complex multi-domain operations in a demanding environment,” Major General Ellwood said.

“The exercise will also provide an opportunity for forces from the United Kingdom and Japan to operate alongside Australian and US forces during the amphibious landings, and some broader participation by forces from Canada, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

“Overall, these exercises provide an outstanding opportunity to develop broader interoperability with friends, partners and allies within the region and further afield.”

Major General Ellwood said TS21 was an opportunity to highlight that it is the sum of many capabilities, drawn together through high levels of interoperability, which makes for a highly potent and agile force.

“Our forces will yet again stand ready to operate side by side in any circumstance, be it to provide humanitarian support, to maintain peace or to fight,” Major General Ellwood said. 

Commander of the 3rd Brigade Brigadier Kahlil Fegan said TS21 was an opportunity to push the brigade’s forces to their utmost potential. 

“The mobility, manoeuvre and firepower that can be generated through the combined Australian and US operations is formidable,” Brigadier Fegan said.

“Training in austere environments with realistic scenarios ensures our soldiers are some of the best trained in the world.

“We’re committed to making sure our people are of the highest calibre, meaning they are able to deploy wherever, whenever and with whomever.

“Another element of that is exposing our people to a variety of scenarios, an example of this is 3RAR entering the battle via an amphibious landing – this will keep the enemy off-balance through surprise, confusion and uncertainty, and also opens up different avenues for the development of well-rounded soldiers.

“We also have the opportunity to work with US capabilities to maximise their application across the combined battlefield.

“Each Talisman Sabre exercise is an important step in advancing the interoperability between our forces, and this year we will again prove our ability to survive and thrive in large-scale complex warfare.”

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