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Talisman Sabre military exercise begins for 30k personnel

written by Adam Thorn | July 22, 2023

The biggest-ever iteration of Talisman Sabre has begun today, featuring 30,000 personnel from 13 nations.

The 10th edition of the 14-day ‘war game’ is primarily intended to improve interoperability between the Australian and US militaries, and this year will be mostly held in Queensland.

Previous Talisman Sabre activities have included MRH90 Taipan Helicopters and Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, as well as KC-30A Multi Role Tanker aircraft and EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said the scale and design of the exercise would provide more “depth, complexity and challenge” for personnel involved.


Talisman Sabre is a practical demonstration of our commitment to working with our international partners to maintain the security and stability of our region,” he said.

Participating partner nations include Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, France, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand will attend as observers.

The US Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, said, “The scope of this exercise and the opportunity it provides for all of us to train above, at, and below the sea, as well as ashore, increases our ability to work together in the countering challenges we may face here in the Indo-Pacific region.”

This year, military personnel will deploy across Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and NSW. For the first time, exercises will also take part around Norfolk Island.

Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said, “Every nation who has joined us in Australia for Talisman Sabre will integrate operations across air, land, maritime, space and cyber domains, challenging our defence forces to synchronise military efforts from the tactical to strategic levels.

“Talisman Sabre 23 steps up the complexity of the exercise in a range of areas, including a much larger geographic footprint which will test the logistical aspects of the combined force. We look forward to undertaking these new challenges with our very capable partners,” LTGEN Bilton added.

US Army Major General Jered P. Helwig, Commanding General, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, echoed these sentiments, saying, “Talisman Sabre 2023 demonstrates the joint force’s ability to integrate with allies and partners and rapidly deploy large-scale logistics at a critical time in the Indo-Pacific.

“The Australian and US alliance is critical to enhancing regional security and stability. The complexity in scope and operation of this exercise across all of our warfighting functions demonstrates the power of the alliance and like-minded partnerships in the region,” MAJGEN Helwig explained.

Defence Minister Marles will travel to Queensland with US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, to visit Australian and US service members participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre.

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