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Townsville ceremony marks end to TS21

Photo Credit: Department of Defence | LACW Emma Schwenke

Thousands of military personnel from seven nations are making their way home after concluding interoperability training in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Evans Head in NSW.

Thousands of military personnel from seven nations are making their way home after concluding interoperability training in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Evans Head in NSW.

A ceremony in Kissing Point, Townsville, has marked the end of Exercise Talisman Sabre 21 (TS21) — a three-week long, multinational military exercise involving approximately 17,000 troops from Australia, the US, UK, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, and South Korea, along with observer nations France and India.  


Exercise highlights included:

  • South Korea’s inaugural participation — the nation’s destroyer, ROKS Wang Geon, contributed to a maritime warfare scenario involving around 20 ships and 60 aircraft;
  • the inaugural deployment of the US MIM-104 Patriot surface to air missile;
  • 120 Spartan Paratroopers from Alaska embarking in two RAAF C-17A Globemaster III aircraft in Darwin, jumping over the skies of Charters Towers to join Australian land forces;
  • amphibious forces from Australia, the US, Japan and the UK operating from HMAS Canberra for the first time as an integrated landing force; and
  • the inaugural deployment of the US Space Command.

Reflecting on TS21, Commander Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Major General Jake Ellwood, lauded the success of the multi-domain interop ability training.  

“This was a very complex series of training events and I am just so impressed by what our collective forces have achieved,” MAJGEN Ellwood said.

“Having safely operated in the middle of a pandemic is an incredible achievement and a testament to the strength of our partnership.”

Land component commander, US Brigadier General Eric Strong, said TS21 has further strengthened ties with the partner nations.


“This is really important work we’re doing here with our key allies, the Australians. I’m grateful for their hospitality and support,” he said.

“Our service-members are doing a great job and I couldn’t be prouder.

“It’s a significant commitment to be away from home and family, but when I look at the lasting impacts of our efforts: increased readiness, stronger bonds with allies and partners and a more secure region – I know it’s worth it.”

MAJGEN Ellwood thanked the Indigenous community for its support and co-operation.

“This vital training would not have been possible without the support of Indigenous and local communities, councils, landowners and governments,” he said.

“We thank you for your patience and good will. Realistic training makes us a stronger defence force and a safer nation.”

[Related: Submarines sneak-up on surface ships at Talisman Sabre]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

Townsville ceremony marks end to TS21
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