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TALISMAN SABRE 2023 ~ British Armed Forces

Royal Marines aboard HMAS Adelaide [UK MoD press release image]

British Armed Forces take part in TALISMAN SABRE 2023, the largest military exercise between UK, Australia, and US.

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Press Release, Whitehall, 04 August 2023: More than 150 UK personnel have joined troops from 13 other nations for Exercise TALISMAN SABRE, which took place across Australia and in adjacent waters, to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific.

TALISMAN SABRE, which began on 22 July and ends today, is the largest military exercise between Australian, UK and US Armed Forces and is designed to strengthen partnerships and interoperability among key allies. It tests joint capabilities across land, sea, air, space and digital domains. More than 34,000 troops took part in this 10th iteration of TALISMAN SABRE, which involved forces from Australia, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea, Tonga, the UK and United States.

This year marks the UK’s largest contribution to TALISMAN SABRE, with capabilities from across the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force (RAF). Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific is essential. Exercise TALISMAN SABRE demonstrates the UK’s commitment to the region and the strength of our ties with friends and allies.”

As part of TALISMAN SABRE, the UK Royal Marines Commando Force embarked on HMAS Adelaide, Australia’s largest warship, and conducted ship to shore landings, a capability that is essential for high-readiness crisis response.

Major Aran Sandiford, Commanding Officer of the Commando Forces, said: “The opportunity for UK Commando Forces to integrate with like-minded, specialist reconnaissance and raiding forces, really is invaluable. As well as being a fantastic chance to develop shared tactics and practice operating alongside key partners, deploying Commandos into the Indo-Pacific is one of the best ways of demonstrating the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region.

During this training, the head of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, visited the troops aboard HMAS Adelaide. The UK Commando Force previously deployed to the Indo-Pacific in March for exercise Ssang Yong 2023 in South Korea. More recently, the Force worked with many of the same partners in TALISMAN SABRE to support evacuation efforts in Sudan.

In Western Australia, a team from the RAF Support Force based at RAF Wittering provided logistical support for TALISMAN SABRE. They worked with their Australian counterparts to prepare more than 40,000 meals for more than 600 personnel exercising at RAAF Curtin, supporting F-35A and F22 fighter jet operations.

Service Personnel from 4 Regiment Army Air Corps also supported aviation efforts, conducting forward arming and refuelling, whilst 14 Signals Regiment provided Electronic Warfare capability, both increasing UK interoperability with Australian hosts. Observers from 4th Battalion Ranger Regiment and UK Space Command also took part in the exercise, signalling all areas of UK defence are to integrating with regional partners.

Exercise TALISMAN SABRE is a complex and ambitious exercise which involves risks, as the tragic loss of an Australian helicopter at sea on 28 July has reminded us. UK personnel assisted in search and rescue efforts for the crew and the Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin sent his condolences to his Australian counterpart for the tragic loss of four Australian Army soldiers.

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