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Abrams conclude inaugural deployment in amphibious ops

The tanks were put to the test in an amphibious warfare exercise for the first time.

The tanks were put to the test in an amphibious warfare exercise for the first time.

Exercise Sea Explorer has wrapped up after approximately 1,800 Australian Defence Force personnel engaged in amphibious operations at Cowley Beach in North Queensland.


The exercise included the deployment of Army’s M1A1 Abrams tanks, which took part in the exercise for the first time.  

Commander 1st Division Major General Jake Ellwood said the deployment of the fleet helped advance Army’s warfighting capability in the coastal environment.

“During Exercise Sea Explorer we were able to demonstrate our capacity to project a mechanised combat team onto land from the sea,” MAJGEN Ellwood said.

“Troops rehearsed beach landings with a range of military vehicles, including the M1A1 Tank, using a variety of landing craft and with Australian Army ARH-Tiger and CH-47 Chinook helicopters in support.” 

The Australian Amphibious Force conducted wet and dry environmental rehearsals, combat enhancement training and force integration, supported by HMA Ships Canberra and Choules.


Commander Amphibious Task Force Captain Leif Maxfield said Exercise Sea Explorer enabled forces to experiment with capabilities in a bid to develop new cross-domain skills.

“The Australian Amphibious Force is a scalable, joint force enhancing the ADF’s ability to achieve the nation’s Defence and maritime strategic objectives and interests throughout the region,” CAPT Maxfield said.

“Exercise Sea Explorer enables our soldiers, sailors and aviators to practice a range of procedures and capabilities in complex and challenging scenarios.”

Exercise Sea Explorer was the forerunner to next month’s Exercise Sea Raider, which is set to involve a range of realistic amphibious assault and raid rehearsals as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre — a multinational exercise designed to strengthen interoperability through combined and Joint Task Force operations with strategic partners.

Foreign military personnel from the US, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the UK are en route to Australia for Exercise Talisman Sabre.

France, India and Indonesia are also expected to participate as observer nations.

This year’s exercise, which will mark the ninth iteration, is expected to involve a field training exercise incorporating force preparation (logistic) activities, amphibious landings, ground force manoeuvre, urban operations, air combat and maritime operations.

[Related: International forces to arrive for Exercise 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.

Abrams conclude inaugural deployment in amphibious ops
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