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In pictures: Army Chinooks lift giant M777 Howitzers

written by Adam Thorn | June 16, 2021
Australian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters air lift M777 Howitzers onto Cowley Beach, during an amphibious assault as part of Exercise Sea Explorer. (Defence)
Australian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters air lift M777 Howitzers onto Cowley Beach, during an amphibious assault as part of Exercise Sea Explorer. (Defence)

Australian Army CH-47 Chinooks lifted M777 Howitzers onto Cowley Beach, Queensland, as part of Exercise Sea Explorer.

The major defence exercise, which concluded on Tuesday, saw 1,800 ADF personnel practise amphibious operations during the day and night.

These incredible photos show how the soldiers from 176 Air Dispatch Squadron, 9th Force Support Battalion prepared the 4,100-kilogram artillery piece on board of RAN’s HMAS Choules.

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Commander Amphibious Task Force Captain Leif Maxfield said, “Exercise Sea Explorer enables our soldiers, sailors and aviators to practice a range of procedures and capabilities in complex and challenging scenarios.

“The Australian Amphibious Force is a scalable, joint force enhancing the ADF’s ability to achieve the nation’s Defence and maritime strategic objectives and interests throughout the region.”

Exercise Sea Explorer also saw M1A1 Abrams tanks exercised in amphibious operations for the first time.

Commander 1st Division Major General Jake Ellwood said, “During Exercise Sea Explorer we were able to demonstrate our capacity to project a mechanised combat team onto land from the sea.”

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The M777 is the latest artillery piece used by the Australian Army, and can fire conventional and precision-guided projectiles alongside smoke projectiles.

In March, Australian Aviation reported how the US federal government gave the green light for Australia to purchase another four CH-47F Chinooks and equipment for $335 million.

Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, prepare to board an Australian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter from Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Canberra during an air mobile insertion, as part of Exercise Sea Explorer. Cowley Beach, Queensland. (Defence)

The Australian Army currently has 10 Chinooks, which served in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2013, and were also deployed to help with the recent ‘black summer’ bushfire season.

The iconic Chinook can trace its history all the way back to the 1960s. The current iteration of the aircraft has a top speed of 315km/h.

Australian Army soldiers from 176 Air Dispatch Squadron, 9th Force Support Battalion, prepare an M777 155mm Howitzer for air lift by a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, on board Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Choules, during Exercise Sea Explorer. (Defence)

Their primary roles include troop transportation, artillery emplacement and battlefield resupply, which they achieve via a wide loading ramp at the rear of its fuselage.

“During the devastating bushfire season, Australian Army Chinooks provided support to firefighting operations and delivered humanitarian assistance to remote and isolated communities in South Australia and Victoria,” Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said earlier.

An Australian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter lifts a M777 155mm Howitzer from Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Choules, during Exercise Sea Explorer. (Defence)

Boeing Defence Australia also recently won a 12-month extension to its contract to support Australia’s fleet.

The updated CH-47F Chinook Integrated Support Services (CISS) contract will now run until 2025 and retains 45 jobs in Townsville, Oakey and Brisbane.

Australian Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters air lift M777 Howitzers onto Cowley Beach, Queensland, during an amphibious assault as part of Exercise Sea Explorer. (Defence)

Minister Price said, “These contract changes will increase the level of services provided to Defence and expand the maintenance and training support provided for the CH-47F Chinook fleet.

“The recent increase in services for the Chinook fleet will continue to boost opportunities for the defence industry in Queensland.”

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In pictures: Army Chinooks lift giant M777 Howitzers Comment

  • Craig Simpson

    says:

    Put some wings and an engine on this and that would be a nice A-10 replacement!!!!!!!!!

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