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US Marines to descend on Top End

The latest contingent of US Marines to train in Australia start arriving in northern Australia this month, the largest group so far.

The 1,587 Marines will be initially accompanied by eight MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and an artillery battery of six M777 Howitzers, and will conduct training activities through to October.

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Defence Minister Marise Payne said this was the seventh and largest rotation, underscoring the commitment of both the Australian and US governments to full implementation of the US Force Posture Initiatives.

“These initiatives strengthen the ability of Australia and the US to work together, and with regional partners, in the interests of regional stability and security,” the minister said.

Minister Payne said that since the initial 200 in 2012, the Marine Rotational Force Darwin (MRF-D) has been increasing in size and complexity, further enhancing the interoperability and capability of Australian and US forces, eventually this will involve a full Marine Air Ground Task Force of 2,500.

During major exercises, the US rotation will include additional equipment including AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters, UH-1Y Venom helicopters, F/A-18 Hornet aircraft and MC-130 Hercules aircraft.

Minister Payne said extra personnel and equipment would enable a broader range of exercises and training activities with the Australian Defence Force and other regional nations.

“During the six-month training period, the US Marines are expected to participate in 15 training activities alongside the ADF,” she said.

“Other regional nations, including Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and many more will also participate in or observe some of these training activities.”

Minister Payne said Australia and the US had a longstanding history of working together to promote peace, security and stability across the globe.

Australia welcomed opportunities to work with the US to foster greater co-operation with our regional partners, she said.

Minister Payne said in addition to training with the US Marines, the ADF also conducted air training exercises with the US Air Force and regional nations under the Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) Initiative.

EAC activities this year include an aero-medical evacuation training mission, fifth-generation fighter integration, combat mobility activities with the US Marine Corps, undertaking integrated aircraft maintenance and expanding air-to-air refuelling capabilities.

“Enhanced Air Cooperation activities complement and support training with the US Marines as it increases the ability of Australia and the US to deploy into the region where and when they are required to do so,” Minister Payne said.

“The US military plays a vital role in underwriting security and stability across the Indo-Pacific, and the Force Posture Initiatives will be an essential component in preserving stability and security over the coming decades.”

US Marines to descend on Top End
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