War games on mas­sive scale

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - IAN McPHEDRAN

“EN­EMY” forces are dug in and poised in the jun­gles of North­ern Aus­tralia wait­ing for thou­sands of al­lied troops to storm ashore and drop from the skies for the na­tion’s big­gest war game – Tal­is­man Sabre 2015.

More than 30,000 sol­diers, marines, sailors and fly­ers from Aus­tralia, the US, New Zealand and Ja­pan will par­tic­i­pate in the ex­er­cise sce­nario.

It in­volves “friendly” forces from com­bined Aus­tralia- US task­forces restor­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment in two fic­tional coun­tries called “Li­gais” ( S h o a l w a t e r Bay near Rock­hamp­ton) and “Mon­mir” at Fog Bay west of Dar­win.

Both “coun­tries” are backed by a large and pow­er­ful ally known as “Ka­maria”.

Ex­er­cise boss and com­man­der of the US Sev­enth Fleet Vice- Ad­mi­ral Robert Thomas said none of the na­tions in the ex­er­cise should be as­so­ci­ated with any “real” coun­try.

The Sev­enth Fleet is the big­gest Amer­i­can naval force with 51 ships, 10 sub­marines, 170 air­craft and 40,000 per­son­nel. That is more fire­power than the en­tire Aus­tralian De­fence Force.

When asked di­rectly if China fig­ured in any of the ex­er­cise plan­ning his re­sponse was, “No”. He said the ex­er­cise fo­cus was on int e r o p e r a b i l i t y be­tween the forces in­volved.

While the ex­er­cise fo­cus was a re­gional con­tin­gency, it would have a global ap­pli­ca­tion whether that was a hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter or a war.

GETTY IM­AGES Pic­tures:

EA­GLES LAND­ING: Para­troop­ers from the US 4/ 25th In­fantry Di­vi­sion jump from a C- 17 Globe­mas­ter as part of ex­er­cise Tal­is­man Sabre near Rock­hamp­ton. BE­LOW LEFT: An Amer­i­can para­trooper makes his way to a rally point.

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