With an abundance of state-of-the-art military equipment featured at Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019, this year the Australian Army has trialled a Mission Adaptable Platform System Mule unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
The mule UGV is a six-wheeled device capable of hauling more than 500 kilograms of equipment.
It can be configured into several specialist roles through the use of hydraulic crane arm attachments, a surveillance module and combat litters for the carriage of wounded soldiers.
Lieutenant Patrick Mueller, a 9th Force Support Battalion (9FSB) workshop platoon commander, said it helped reduce manual labour requirements: "Coming up with how we were going to incorporate them into our daily routine was hard initially, but the more we used it, the more we found ways to integrate it."
"We started using them for things like daily replenishment, so water, food and rubbish runs into a central point … one of the operators took to using them to haul cabling around the position to do electrical runs. Other ideas that were floated including using them to carry ammunition to forward defensive pits, as well as carrying defensive stores – wiring, sandbags – which is a difficult task with a small amount of people," LT Mueller added.
The workshop platoon’s Corporal Aaron Le Jeune said it was an easy platform to learn and operate.
"It operates off a standard gaming controller and uses four buttons to operate it, so it’s a very simple piece of equipment to operate," CPL Le Jeune explained.
"The workshops team have been using it to ferry parts and tools to and from jobs in the local brigade maintenance area, as well as stores drop-offs and collections."
Exercise Talisman Sabre '19 (TS19) is a bilateral combined Australian and US training activity. TS19 is designed to practice respective military services and associated agencies in planning and conducting Combined and Joint Task Force operations, and improve the combat readiness and interoperability between Australian and US forces.
Occurring every two years, Talisman Sabre is a major exercise reflecting the closeness of the alliance and strength of the enduring military relationship. TS19 is the eighth iteration of the exercise and consists of a Field Training Exercise incorporating force preparation (logistic) activities, amphibious landings, land force manoeuvre, urban operations, air operations, maritime operations and Special Forces activities.