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ISSN: 0729-5685 (Print)
ISSN: 2209-2218 (Online)
HIS year’s Exercise Talisman Sabre
started off with a bang, as US
Marine Corps and US Army High
Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems
(HiMARS) demonstrated the firepower they
could bring to bear.
The exercise, held on July 8, displayed
not only the rapid-deployment capability of
the systems, which were deployed by US
Air Force and US Marine Corps MC-130s,
but also how they integrated with Royal
Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon and
E-7A Wedgetail aircraft.
It was also the first time Australian per-
sonnel had commanded the HiMARS sys-
tems. Comd Forcomd Maj-Gen Christopher
Field said the exercise was an impressive
display of the capability of Australian and
US military’s ability to work together.
“As we like to say, we’re combined and
joint by nature, but partnered by choice
and this was a great opportunity to show
the interoperability between our two
nations, both in the air and on land,” he
“Joint and combined fighting is essen-
tial to our two militaries and it’s always
wonderful to get out and see soldiers
executing their profession.”
The attack was also supported by two
US Army AH-64E Apache helicopters, as
well as Australian S-100 and RAN Scan
Eagle unmanned aerial systems.
Cpl Thomas Rowe, of 16 Regt, RAA, said
the live-fire exercise was the prelude to an
integration with the US Army and Marine
Corps he hadn’t previously experienced in
“This was the first time we’d worked
with the HiMARS and I’ve never seen a live-
fire of that magnitude before,” he said.
“I was really excited to see all of them
fire at the same time and it didn’t disap-
Working with the Australians was a
A display of allied artillery might kicked off Exercise
Talisman Sabre, reports Cpl Sebastian Beurich.
Flt-Lt Chloe Stevenson
ARMY’S trucks are quickly resembling
the fictional ‘Transformers’ as they become
smarter, tougher and a whole lot more adapt-
able on Exercise Talisman Sabre.
Four of the newest truck variants are being
put through their paces during the multina-
tional exercise as they conduct transportation
and resupply missions so soldiers in the field
have fuel, water, ammunition, rations and
The Rheinmetall MAN 40M, HX77,
HX81 and 45M Heavy Recovery Vehicle vari-
ants are a game changer according to Lt-Col
Dan Turner. The medium/heavy capability
staff officer said they are networked, protected
and can be tailored to perform multiple roles.
“You can have a HX77 configured for fuel,
water, stores or with a flatrack for general
tasking,” Lt-Col Turner said.
“It is entirely up to the commander and
capable of being tailored to meet any mission.
“The other key strength is the pro-
tected capability. A third of the fleet is now
armoured, which provides it the ability to
deploy into a threat environment. Previously,
our fleet was not armoured, which restricted
their employment on operations.
“They are also connected into the digital
1 Armd Regt’s Maj Luke Tindale said the
trucks could be exceptional vehicles.
“We have both protected HX77s and 40Ms
in my replenishment team, which have proven
to be pretty capable over the terrain that we
have been going over,” Maj Tindale said.
“They have a greater capacity for carrying
stores and also the fuel and water modules
have a much higher flow rate, which allows us
to do our jobs quicker and faster so we’re not
in a vulnerable position for any longer than
we need to be.”
Specialist driver Pte Dannika Joyce said
the new HX77 modular vehicle made her
job resupplying vehicles on exercises like
Talisman Sabre not only easier, but safer.
“When you load a vehicle onto the truck,
you can actually put the flatrack on the
ground, load the vehicle, tie it down and then
lift it on to the truck instead of having to go to
a ramp and drive it on,” Pte Joyce said.
“With other stores and cargo, the vehicle is
designed so you can drive into the field, drop
the flatrack, leave it there, and then we can
pick it back up later.”
Land 121 Phase 3B is the project to
replace Army and RAAF Unimog and Mack
vehicles with a modern fleet, including pro-
tected vehicles to support operations.
The project, worth $3.4 billion, will
deliver thousands of vehicles between 2018
Smarter, tougher trucks transforming capability
A private from the 1 Armd Regt transfers diesel
during a tactical resupply. Photo: Cpl Tristan Kennedy
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