Over 1,000 ADF troops have engaged in amphibious warfighting training, integrating Boxer CRVs for the first time.
Exercise Sea Explorer 2022 has officially wrapped up, following over two weeks of ship-to-shore training at Cowley Beach in North Queensland.
Approximately 1,400 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel took part in the exercise, which involved the integration of sailors, soldiers and aviators.
The training aimed to bolster the Australian amphibious force’s (AAF) capability, improving the effectiveness of ground combat element.
Troops were supported by landing helicopter dock HMAS Adelaide, which supported landing craft and aircraft deployments, while the United States Navy’s Japan-based USS Ashland embarked AAF forces.
“USS Ashland is one of our nearest and closest coalition partners. Together, we have demonstrated our ability to interchange and operate as a cohesive force to develop and deliver an amphibious effect,” Commander of the Australian Amphibious Task Force, Captain Phillipa Hay said.
“The AAF is now certified to deploy on Indo-Pacific Endeavour, Defence’s premier deployment into the region and beyond, where we will be enhancing our interoperability and relationships with key partners and friends in the region.”
The AAF trained in wet and dry conditions as part of an exercise component called “Wader”, with troops training around the clock in a bid to familiarise themselves with amphibious operations on HMAS Adelaide’s dock and on its flight deck.
Australian Army liaison officer Captain Jonathan Unicomb said Exercise Sea Explorer helped personnel from each service to strengthen interoperability.
“The Royal Australian Navy plays an important role for the ground combat element — without them, we wouldn’t be able to get Army vehicles, equipment and personnel to the shore to conduct operations on land,” CAPT Unicomb said.
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The exercise incorporated a range of military platforms and equipment, including M777 howitzer artillery pieces, all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and Tiger armed reconnaissance and CH-47 heavy-lift helicopters.
Notably, two Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV) landed ashore for the first time during the exercise.
“The Boxer disembarked from HMAS Adelaide by way of lighter landing craft to conduct Wader, rehearsing ship-to-shore movements, enabling us to be certified to conduct a live-fire exercise in Exercise Sea Raider later this year,” Troop leader Lieutenant Stefano Rankin, from 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry), said.
Exercise Sea Explorer 2022 was the forerunner to Exercise Sea Raider, which is expected to involve a larger and more intensive joint maritime and land forces training.