Exercise Talisman Saber will be played out off the coast of North Queensland from July 15, bringing with it the entire complement of the US Navy 7th Carrier Group Five. Central to the deployment will be the USS George Washington, with which Australian forces will exercise.
The Townsville Bulletin reported 15 American and 11 Australian maritime assets will participate in the exercise. RAAF Base Townsville will play an important role for Talisman Saber, with the region’s High Range and Shoalwater exercise areas to be used by US and RAAF aircraft during the exercise.
The Bulletin also reported 7,000 Australian troops will participate in Talisman Saber including more than 3,000 from Townsville as well as small numbers of government and civilian representatives.
Talisman Saber spokesperson Brigadier Bob Brown said the exercise is key for Townsville soldiers as major focuses will include certifying the 3rd Brigade as a multi-role manoeuvre brigade as part of the Australian army restructuring program known as Plan Beersheba. He said another priority will be on training the future Australian Amphibious Force – the core of which is drawn from the Townsville-based 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment.
“The beauty of this scale of exercise is, with the scenarios you can move from some sort of friction with an external notional country and then move to naval blockages and a humanitarian situation with refugees,” the Bulletin reported Brown as saying.
The 501st Airborne Infantry Regiment will travel from Alaska to parachute into the scenario.