US Marine Corps personnel are arriving in the NT to commence the eighth rotation of the Marine Rotational Force - Darwin (MRF-D).
Over a six-month training period, MRF-D will participate in multiple training activities alongside the ADF including a new Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) activity.
The main body of the rotation consists of approximately 1,700 Marines, an increase of almost 200 from last year’s rotation, and features an Aviation Combat Element including MV-22 Ospreys and UH/AH-1 helicopters.
The ADF will also conduct air training exercises with US force elements under the Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) Initiative, as part of the US Force Posture Initiatives. This year’s EAC activities include 5th generation fighter integration, aero-medical evacuation training and integrated aircraft maintenance activities.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne welcomed the start of the 2019 rotation and said it represented the most capable and operationally focused deployment to date.
“The US presence in the Indo-Pacific, which is strongly supported by Australia, is an essential element in preserving stability and security in the region,” Minister Pyne said. “The new Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response exercise will better position both nations to respond to crises in the region.
“The Marine Rotational Force-Darwin provides important opportunities to enhance engagement with regional partners. This year many regional allies and partners will participate in or observe some of these training activities.”
The 2019 rotation is on top of approximately $2 billion to be invested by Australia and the US into Defence infrastructure and facilities in the Territory in support of the Force Posture Initiatives.
The US Marines are expected to complete the rotation in October 2019.