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Ryan Robertson

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Largest ever US, Australia military drill ‘Talisman Sabre’ underway

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Ryan Robertson

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More than 30,000 troops from 13 different countries are in Australia for Talisman Sabre 2023. This year’s gathering of military might is the largest ever joint military exercises between the United States and Australia.

Americans and Australians may make up the bulk of participants, but war fighters from Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Indonesia, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, and Tonga also took part in the all-domain drills.

The Australian Ministry of Defense reported personnel from India, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are attending as observers.

The joint training exercises will include everything from ground force maneuvers to air combat and maritime operations. Logistics and electronic warfare training will also be conducted.

In its 10th iteration, Talisman Sabre 2023 isn’t just the largest joint U.S.-Australian military exercise in terms of participants, it’s also the largest in terms of geography.

Land drills and air drills will be held across Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia as well as New South Wales. There are even drills planned on and around Norfolk Island, which is more than a thousand miles away from the Australian mainland.

There are a few notable firsts in this year’s Talisman Sabre.

The operation kicked off with the commissioning of the Independence-class littoral combat ship the USS Canberra. It’s the first time a U.S. naval vessel was ever commissioned in a foreign port.

The USS Canberra is the second naval vessel to bear the name. The Canberra is named after the HMS Canberra, an Australian ship that sunk during World War II while supporting U.S. Marines during the landings on Guadalcanal.

In another first, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force launched its Type 12 surface-to-ship missile for the first time in Australia. The missile, which didn’t have an explosive warhead, was launched from a truck-mounted system at a target off the coast of Jervis Bay.

The Type 12 SSM has a launch range of 200 kilometers. The Japanese are investing millions in missile defense and expect to boost the range of the Type 12 1000 kilometers by 2026.

Carlos Del Toro, secretary of the U.S. Navy, said Talisman Sabre is not meant as a message for the Chinese, rather it’s about the mutual relationship between allies and partners working together.

“The scope of this exercise and the opportunity it provides for all of us to train above, at, and below sea, as well as ashore, increases our ability to work together in the countering challenges we may face here in the Indo-Pacific region,” Del Toro said. “The marines and sailors who are here as part of this exercise, alongside their partners throughout our Nation’s Joint Force, are a signal of just how serious we are about strengthening our partnerships.”

Be that as it may, China is certainly taking an interest in the live war drills. As it’s done since 2017, the People’s Liberation Army navy has a surveillance ship off Australia’s east coast to monitor the exercises.

Talisman Sabre 2023 will wrap up on Aug. 2.

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THERE MAY NOT BE ENOUGH SHRIMP TO THROW ON THE BARBIE DOWN UNDER FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS. MORE THAN 30,000 TROOPS FROM 11 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES ARE IN AUSTRALIA FOR TALISMAN SABRE.

THIS YEAR’S GATHERING OF MILITARY MIGHT IS THE LARGEST EVER JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND AUSTRALIA, BUT SOLDIERS FROM CANADA, THE UK, FRANCE, FIJI, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA, AND OTHERS ARE ALSO TAKING PART IN THE ALL-DOMAIN DRILLS.

THE TRAINING WILL INCLUDE EVERYTHING FROM GROUND FORCE MANEUVERS TO AIR COMBAT AND MARITIME OPERATIONS. LOGISTICS AND ELECTRONIC WARFARE TRAINING WILL ALSO BE CONDUCTED.

IN ITS 10TH ITERATION, TALISMAN SABRE 2023 ISN’T JUST THE LARGEST JOINT US-AUSTRALIAN MILITARY EXERCISE IN TERMS OF PARTICIPANTS, IT’S ALSO THE LARGEST IN TERMS OF GEOGRAPHY. LAND DRILLS AND AIR DRILLS WILL BE HELD ACROSS QUEENSLAND, THE NORTHERN TERRITORY, WESTERN AND SOUTH AUSTRALIA AS WELL AS NEW SOUTH WALES. THERE ARE EVEN DRILLS PLANNED ON AND AROUND NORFOLK ISLAND, WHICH IS A THOUSAND MILES AWAY FROM THE AUSTRALIAN MAINLAND.

THERE ARE A FEW NOTABLE FIRSTS IN THIS YEAR’S TALISMAN SABRE.

THE OPERATION KICKED OFF WITH THE COMMISSIONING OF THE INDEPENDENCE-CLASS LITTORAL COMBAT SHIP THE USS CANBERRA. IT’S THE FIRST TIME A U.S. NAVAL VESSEL WAS EVER COMMISSIONED IN A FOREIGN PORT.

THE USS CANBERRA IS NAMED AFTER AN AUSTRALIAN SHIP THAT SUNK DURING WORLD WAR II WHILE SUPPORTING US MARINES DURING THE LANDINGS ON GUADALCANAL.

IN ANOTHER FIRST, THE JAPAN GROUND SELF-DEFENSE FORCE LAUNCHED ITS TYPE 12 SURFACE-TO-SHIP MISSILE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AUSTRALIA. THE MISSILE, WHICH DIDN’T HAVE AN EXPLOSIVE WARHEAD, WAS LAUNCHED FROM A TRUCK-MOUNTED SYSTEM AT A TARGET OFF THE COAST OF JERVIS BAY.

THE SECRETARY OF THE U.S. NAVY SAID TALISMAN SABRE IS NOT MEANT AS A MESSAGE FOR THE CHINESE, RATHER IT’S ABOUT THE MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ALLIES AND PARTNERS WORKING TOGETHER.

BE THAT AS IT MAY, CHINA IS CERTAINLY TAKING AN INTEREST IN THE LIVE WAR DRILLS. AS IT’S DONE SINCE 2017, THE PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY NAVY HAS A SURVEILLANCE SHIP OFF AUSTRALIA’S EAST COAST TO MONITOR THE EXERCISES.
TALISMAN SABRE 2023 WILL WRAP UP ON AUGUST 2ND. FOR MORE UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACT REPORTING ABOUT JOINT EXERCISES AND OTHER MILITARY MATTERS, BE SURE TO CHECKOUT SAN.COM.