Three services hone amphibious capabilities in major joint exercise

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Lauren Rago (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Location(s): Halifax Bay, Nth Qld, Cowley Beach, Nth Qld

Topic(s): Exercises, HMAS Choules (L100), Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR)

Able Seaman Aviation Technician Aircraft Jason Hextell shows Craftsman, Private Tristan Creasy (right) and Craftsman, Private Dylan Rowe (centre) the procedure for securing the rotor blades of the MRH-90 helicopter embarked on HMAS Choules. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Able Seaman Aviation Technician Aircraft Jason Hextell shows Craftsman, Private Tristan Creasy (right) and Craftsman, Private Dylan Rowe (centre) the procedure for securing the rotor blades of the MRH-90 helicopter embarked on HMAS Choules.

The first major joint amphibious exercise for the year, Exercise SEA DAWN, is underway in North Queensland. It is scheduled to continue until 17 April.

Over the next few weeks, approximately 450 Navy, Army and Air Force personnel will rehearse amphibious operations in the Halifax Bay and Cowley Beach Training Areas through a realistic scenario where an amphibious ship-to-shore assault is simulated.

Participants will rehearse helicopter, boat and vehicle operations, land forces ashore, conduct casualty response and recovery, test communications and reaffirm command arrangements.

Commander Australian Amphibious Task Group, Captain Jay Bannister, said the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will soon be able to execute the full spectrum of amphibious operations.

“Exercise SEA DAWN provides valuable training in the skills necessary for the complex and demanding amphibious environment.”

“Land Forces, mainly Army personnel, will land ashore from the amphibious warship HMAS Choules simultaneously via both aircraft and sea landing craft.”

“The exercise also ensures the ADF maintains the capability needed to deliver Humanitarian Assistance and conduct Disaster Relief,” said Captain Bannister.

Navy and Air Force participants include HMAS Choules, Australian Clearance Diving Team One, the Maritime Operational Health Unit, MRH-90 helicopters, an AP-3C Orion and a C-130 Hercules.

Participating Army assets include The 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) as the core of the Amphibious Ready Element, supported by elements of the Army’s 3rd, 6th, 16th and 17th Brigades.

“Amphibious exercises, such as SEA DAWN, are a key stepping stone in the ADF’s transition to an enhanced amphibious capability as the first Landing Helicopter Dock Canberra, comes into service this year.”

“The new 27,000 tonne LHD will eventually become the cornerstone of the ADF’s true expeditionary capability.”

“It will enable a higher level of coordination of large numbers of personnel and equipment, which will be deployable for longer periods of time,” said Captain Bannister.

The ADF presently has an amphibious platform capability able to provide rapid maritime Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, and Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) response.

Sergeant Geoffrey Coady fires the F88 Austeyr from the flight deck of HMAS Choules as part of the ships small arms continuation training.

Sergeant Geoffrey Coady fires the F88 Austeyr from the flight deck of HMAS Choules as part of the ships small arms continuation training.

Able Seaman Aviation Technician Richard Kitchenn assists Craftsman Tristan Creasy with fitting his EDBA during a training session held on HMAS Choules for sea riders.

Able Seaman Aviation Technician Richard Kitchenn assists Craftsman Tristan Creasy with fitting his EDBA during a training session held on HMAS Choules for sea riders.

More imagery available on Royal Australian Navy Media Library.