The closing ceremony for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 has been held in the Port of Brisbane, marking the conclusion of Australia’s largest bilateral defence exercise with the US.
Over 1,000 personnel embarked on the USS Wasp to formally close the exercise and farewell those who participated over the past two weeks.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Talisman Sabre was a major success, increasing interoperability between the Australian and US militaries and strengthening ties with other participating nations.
“This premier military engagement reflects the strength of the Australia-US alliance and the closeness of our military-to-military relationship,” Minister Reynolds said.
“This was the biggest exercise to date, encompassing over 34,000 personnel, 22 ships and over 200 aircraft.”
Personnel participated in warfighting scenarios at sea, on land and in the air against a fictitious enemy as technologically capable as themselves. Force elements from Japan, Canada, UK and NZ also participated.
The final days of the exercise saw a RAAF KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft from No. 33 Squadron successfully conduct a US Air Force F-22 Raptor air-to-air refueling mission.
Colonel Barley Baldwin, USAF 13 Air Expeditionary Group Commander said this activity was a momentous achievement as both forces collectively further capability and assisting in the security of the region.
“Now that we have passed this initial test and first training hurdle, Australia’s KC-30A aircraft is another viable option for extending the power projection capabilities of the F-22 Raptor in the Indo-Pacific region,” Colonel Baldwin said.
Major General Roger Noble, Deputy Chief of Joint Operations joined Exercise Director Commodore Allison Norris and US Commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7 and Commander Amphibious Force for the US Seventh Fleet Rear Admiral Fred Kacher at the closing ceremony of the exercise.
“In addition to the objectives and missions completed throughout the exercise, it has been invaluable to share and exchange different ways of working alongside our biggest defence ally,” Major General Noble said.
Exercise Director, Commodore Norris said Talisman Sabre was a monumental undertaking, where our forces trained alongside their closest partners under demanding conditions, to test interoperability and integration, and modernise our operational concepts.
“The US shares a long history with Australia of working, fighting and sacrificing together across the globe and the world is better for it,” Commodore Norris said.