NZDF says New Zealand soldiers are embracing being on the front foot in a large-scale exercise in Australia alongside military partners for the first time in a number of years.
Exercise Talisman Sabre 23 is underway in Queensland, with approximately 30,000 military personnel from 13 nations taking part.
As part of the scenario, soldiers from New Zealand, the United States, France, Fiji and Australia – dubbed Battle Group RAM – were tasked with securing a western corridor in the Townsville Field Training Area. They had to subdue defending enemies and allow a brigade to advance through.
Initially New Zealand Light Armoured Vehicles and infantry, along with French forces, were tasked with clearing the area.
This was followed by French, Australian, and Fijian troops joining the offensive, arriving in a range of helicopters: Black Hawks, Chinooks, MRH-90 Taipans and Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90s.
Enemy troops were captured during the action. They were detained and searched and then offered medical treatment before the area was deemed cleared.
“Today’s action provided the opportunity for the NZ Combat Team to demonstrate proficiency in tactical manoeuvre and land combat,” said Senior National Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Murray.
“We had to achieve the mission set by Battle Group RAM and work to the higher commander’s intent when the situation inevitably changes.”
The level of combat training, where New Zealanders were working so closely with partner forces, had not been possible in recent years, Lieutenant Colonel Murray said.
“This exercise is a critical step in reinforcing warfighting as our ‘raison d’etre’ whilst enhancing our ability to conduct land combat operations at scale.”
Talisman Sabre is a biennial Australian hosted and United States-supported combined exercise focussed on the planning and conduct of a high-end, warfighting scenario.
This year’s exercise is designed to improve combat readiness, exercise war-fighting skills and systems, and advance staff and force interoperability.