Tanks ‘sea ride’ on Choules

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Andrew McDonald (author), CAPT (Army) Hugh Johnston (author)

Topic(s): Training, Exercises, HMAS Choules (L100)

An M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank embarked on HMAS Choules. (photo: Unknown)
An M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank embarked on HMAS Choules.

HMAS Choules added a new capability to the Australian Defence Force’s arsenal when they safely loaded and recovered Army’s heaviest vehicles onto the ship recently.

After weeks of preparations, Choules embarked the 62,000 kilogram M1A1 Abrams tank, 63,500 kilogram M88 recovery vehicle, the 42,000 kilogram M777A2 Howitzer onto a mexeflote before transferring them onto the ship at the Cowley Beach Training Area.

Commanding Officer Choules Commander Dave Graham said it wasn’t an easy feat, but the Abrams tank’s first ‘sea ride’ on Choules was a success.

“It took weeks of preparation, but we proved we can embark Army’s heaviest assets as part of the Amphibious Ready Group,” he said.

This capability is critical in delivering the maritime component of the Navy Warfighting Strategy 2018.
 
Taking a scaled approach, the ship gradually increased the loads they put on the watercraft, to ensure they could load the Abrams tank and M88 vehicle with confidence. 
 
“Everyone from our boat coxswains to the Army personnel worked well together to achieve the load. 

“We can now say that we can force-project Army’s heavy armoured mechanised offensive combat force ashore and recover them,” Commander Graham said.

Choules 
worked closely with 3 Combat Service Support Battalion, the Amphibious Beach Team from 35 Water Transport Squadron from 10 Force Support Battalion and were supported by of 2 Close Health Company medics during the activity.