Stalwart on the line in Sabre

This article has photo gallery Published on MIDN Daniel Kay (author), Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cameron McCulloch (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Canberra (L02), HMAS Anzac (F150), HMAS Choules (L100), HMAS Melville (A246), HMAS Gascoyne (M85), HMAS Huon (M82), HMAS Broome (P90), HMAS Bathurst (P85), Exercise TALISMAN SABRE

The Royal Australian Navy frigate helicopter HMAS Anzac (FFH 150) steams through the water as part of a large-scale amphibious assault during Talisman Saber 17. (photo: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cameron McCulloch)
The Royal Australian Navy frigate helicopter HMAS Anzac (FFH 150) steams through the water as part of a large-scale amphibious assault during Talisman Saber 17.

With a potent mix of sophisticated sensors and human ingenuity, HMAS Anzac has ‘protected’ a maritime advance force consisting of hydrographic ships, coastal mine hunters and clearance divers at Freshwater Beach in Central Queensland as part of Exercise TALISMAN SABRE.
 
While hydrographic survey ship HMAS Melville and coastal mine hunters HMA Ships Gascoyne and Huon conducted a rapid environmental assessment and mine clearance operation, Anzac defended them from a simulated coastal defence cruise missile barrage and fast attack vessels.
 
Principal Warfare Officer Lieutenant Jonathon Webb said the unimpeded work of the force was essential for the subsequent amphibious landing including craft from HMA Ships Canberra and Choules.
 
“We were able to hold the line and provide effective anti ship missile defence to the ships and divers close to shore,” he said.
 
“We did this using simulated 5-inch gunfire and Harpoon missile strikes."
 
Armidale class patrol boats HMA Ships Bathurst and Broome role playing as enemy forces twice attempted to infiltrate the area by night, but Anzac’s anti ship missile defence umbrella held firm.
 
The first attack was denied when eagle eyed Quartermaster Leading Seaman Naval Police Coxswain Shaun Thornberry managed to identify Bathurst’s silhouette on the horizon.
 
In the ensuing engagement Anzac’s 5-inch gunnery skills were put to test as she successfully defended the force.
 
The following night Broome was also defeated, despite crafty manoeuvres shielded by the local island cluster.
 
Despite skilled opposition, Anzac departed in good spirits, having successfully defended the maritime advance force.
 
Principal Warfare Officer Lieutenant Andrew Watts said the activity was a valuable simulation in high-end warfighting in the maritime domain.
 
“It represented a realistic simulation which is essential for training and preparing to fight and win at sea,” he said.
 
Now in its seventh iteration, the biennial exercise is the principal Australian and US military training activity, with a focus on the planning and conduct of mid-intensity, high-end warfighting in the air, land and maritime domains.