Army vehicles have been driven on board HMAS Adelaide in an exercise off the coast of north Queensland, designed to test the ADF's readiness for an amphibious response.
An Army Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle, two Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle-Light and two High Mobility Tactical-Extenda vehicles have been transported from Cowley Beach, north Queensland, to HMAS Adelaide via landing craft, as part of Exercise Sea Wader
Exercise Director and Commander Landing Forces Colonel Kim Gilfillan said the land and sea trials enabled the Australian Amphibious Force (AAF) to sharpen their skills in preparation for a future response.
“The integration of new ADF land vehicles with the landing helicopter dock Adelaide provides a step-up in our amphibious force projection capabilities and our capacity to meet the challenges of increased strategic competition,” COL Gilfillan said.
“In addition to the integration of new capabilities, the joint training will ensure the AAF is well positioned to respond to a range of contingencies, and in particular to provide support to Australia and our regional partners ahead of the 2020-21 high-risk weather season.”
Operational test director for the vehicle embarkation trials, Commander Tim Watson, said the exercise was designed to ensure the vehicles could operate in their intended conditions.
“This also provides an opportunity for Navy and Army personnel to work together and test our interoperability in a variety of conditions,” CMDR Watson said.
COL Gilfillan noted the collaborative benefits of the exercise, which included combat, combat support and logistic elements from across the 1st Division and Forces Command.
“The relationship Army has with Navy is excellent and working with HMAS Adelaide is essential to our ability to provide safe and effective joint capabilities to the government,” COL Gilfillan said.
Boxer CRV exceeds expectations
During Exercise Sea Wade, vehicle crew from the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (2/14LHR) deployed to Cowley Beach Training Area to test the armoured vehicles, with the Boxer CRV exceeding expectations.
Officer Commanding 2/14LHR’s A Squadron Major Ed Keating commented, “The vehicle provides a real fighting capability that’s not only going to be the most capable cavalry vehicle in the world, but set the conditions for further modernisation projects,.
“From what we’ve seen, I’m confident the Boxer CRV can be deployed just about anywhere in the world.
“The way it was able to manoeuvre on the beach was impressive.”
During the exercise, the Boxer CRV was bogged in loose sand, escaping without assistance.
“It’s got a lot of power and made short work of the beach, and it wasn’t even being used to its maximum capability,” MAJ Keating said.
“It’s an extremely impressive and capable vehicle.”
MAJ Keating said the Boxer CRV was far more advanced than its ASLAV predecessor, adding that vehicle crews were learning how to adapt their existing knowledge.
“It’s certainly not an ASLAV. It’s a completely different vehicle with different capabilities, and the crews need to learn how to use the Boxer CRV to firstly achieve what they could with the ASLAV, then go beyond that,” he said.
“So far, the crews are extremely impressed with the Boxer CRV multi-purpose variant, and they’re quickly learning how to use it as a deployable capability.
“They’re training enthusiastically, and they really like the vehicle.”
MAJ Keating said he is confident in the Boxer CRV’s ability to support humanitarian and disaster relief missions in harsh weather conditions.
“It can lend assistance in most conditions, and it will be able to fight anywhere we are required to fight,” he said.