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F-35s, Classic Hornets and Poseidons ready for start of Talisman Sabre

written by Adam Thorn | July 14, 2021

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton officially opens Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021, at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. (SGT Peter Borys, Defence)

Australia’s largest bilateral exercise with the US, Talisman Sabre, began on Wednesday, with RAAF Classic Hornets and P-8A Poseidons set to play a key role.

The aircraft will join US Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys and Super Hercules at RAAF Base Townsville for the ninth itineration of the training exercise, which will also take place at Amberley, Tindal and Williamtown.

Commander of the ADF’s Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Major General Jake Ellwood, said: “This year’s exercise will involve more than 17,000 personnel from Australia and the United States.

“Talisman Sabre 2021 is a major undertaking for all participants and demonstrates our capacity to achieve large-scale operational outcomes, while also dealing with a global pandemic.

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


Forces from Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the UK will also participate alongside Australia-based personnel from India, Indonesia, France and Germany.

A majority of these international forces will participate offshore, including around 5,000 from the US Navy expeditionary strike group.

However, the majority of activities will take place on defence bases, as well as a range of training areas across central and north-east Queensland and off the east coast of Australia.

All international military participants taking part in the exercise onshore have undertaken the mandatory 14 days’ quarantine.

It will also coincide with the 70th anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS Treaty and the 10th anniversary of the announcement of the US Force Posture Initiatives.

Brigadier General Eric S. Strong, Deputy Commanding General Officer of support of 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, Colorado said Talisman Sabre showcased the closeness of the Australian and US alliance and the strength of the Joint Force.

“For over 100 years, from the battlefields of France to the mountains of Afghanistan, Australians and Americans have fought alongside each other in war and trained together in peace,” Brigadier General Strong said.

“Talisman Sabre builds on those foundations, prepares for our collective future and demonstrates our Nations’ and service members’ continued commitment to each another and our alliance.

“Bilateral exercises help maintain and build trust and interoperability among key allies through shared experiences and tough, realistic training.”

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