20 Jul 2013

US-Australian military exercise in Queensland

5:00 pm on 20 July 2013

Nearly 30,000 US and Australian troops have taken part in an amphibious landing in a military exercise called Talisman Sabre at Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton in central Queensland.

Sixteen US Navy ships and 11 Australian ships are taking part. "There are about 28,000-30,000 troops taking part overall," Brigadier Bob Brown said on Friday. "We've got air assets all the way down the coast from Townsville to Amberley and the US 7th Fleet are commanding the operation."

Commander Bryon Johnson of the USS Bonhomme Richard says Shoalwater Bay is an ideal location for major operations like an amphibious landing.

"Any amphibious assault is a very complex manoeuvre that requires synchronisation across space and time to be effective, without loss of personnel or damage to craft," he says. "Shoalwater Bay...provides an excellent land space for landing forces when they come ashore.''

Brigadier Brown says a group the size of a battalion also parachuted into the bay after a 17-hour flight from Alaska.

The ABC reports a large-scale exercise of this type is held every two years.