Australia's newest military capability on exercise

This article has photo gallery Published on Department of Defence (author), LSIS Helen Frank (photographer)

Soldiers from 2nd Royal Australian Regiment's Small Boat Platoon prepare for a beach insertion from the well dock of HMAS Canberra during Sea Series 2015. (photo: LSIS Helen Frank)
Soldiers from 2nd Royal Australian Regiment's Small Boat Platoon prepare for a beach insertion from the well dock of HMAS Canberra during Sea Series 2015.

Australia's newest military capability, the Amphibious Ready Element embarked in HMAS Canberra, is continuing to hone its skills during Exercise Sea Explorer in Far North Queensland. 

The element has been conducting the second of the 'Sea Series' of exercises under command of the Amphibious Task Group Headquarters that comprises the Navy’s biggest ship, Air Force assets and supported by the Army’s 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and other Army units. 

The focus of the exercises is on training and assessing the Amphibious Ready Element in a permissive environment scenario which is currently taking place in waters off the North Queensland coast from August through to October.

Leading the exercise is Captain Jay Bannister, the Commander of the Amphibious Task Force, who said the recent focus had been projecting land forces across Cowley Beach in Far North Queensland.

“The effort so far has been the safe and efficient transfer of our troops and vehicles to the beach, where they can train for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief events,” Captain Bannister said.

Canberra is equipped with four Army MRH-90 helicopters and a Navy Maritime Support Helicopter, along with 60 vehicles including bulldozers, light armoured vehicles, protected mobility vehicles, four landing craft and smaller amphibious boats. 

Commander of the Land Force, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bassingthwaighte, who is also the Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, said his troops had been working on completing the ship to shore transfer by day and night since completing induction training.

“The aim is to achieve a capability that will enhance the defence of Australia and support our strategic interests in the region and to operate as an amphibious joint task force,” Lieutenant Colonel Bassingthwaighte said.

The Sea Series of exercises will conclude in early October, when the Amphibious Ready Element has successfully completed the series of exercises comprising both collective training and certification events.