Navy and Army join forces for Exercise SQUADEX

HMAS Choules, the newest ship in the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy’s fleet, is cur­rent­ly con­duct­ing a train­ing exer­cise, Exer­cise Squadex 2012, with Army ele­ments from the 3rd Brigade, 10th Force Sup­port Bat­tal­ion and 5th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment in Townsville.

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HMAS Choules, the newest ship in the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy’s fleet, is cur­rent­ly con­duct­ing a train­ing exer­cise, Exer­cise Squadex 2012, with Army ele­ments from the 3rd Brigade, 10th Force Sup­port Bat­tal­ion and 5th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment in Townsville.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge

Exer­cise Squadex 2012 aims to devel­op the enhanced amphibi­ous capac­i­ty of the Aus­tralian Defence Force as the tran­si­tion into the Can­ber­ra Class Land­ing Heli­copter Dock (LHD) ves­sel occurs.

So far, the focus has been train­ing dri­vers of water and land vehi­cles alike to board and dis­em­bark the ship, along with avi­a­tion assets tri­alling the ves­sel as a land­ing pad.

The train­ing exer­cise is prov­ing to be invalu­able as Army and Navy per­son­nel famil­iarise them­selves with HMAS Choules and work­ing with each oth­er.

“This is my first time ever on an amphibi­ous ship. It’s a total­ly new expe­ri­ence and although I nev­er thought I would be going to sea when I joined the Army, I’m OK about it, it’s quite excit­ing to be one of the first to be on HMAS Choules,” Sap­per Jono Chan­ning from 3rd Brigade said.

Troop­er Clin­ton Davis, also from 3rd Brigade, says that work­ing close­ly with the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy has been a new expe­ri­ence, but a good one.

“Choules is a mod­ern ship, she looks like noth­ing I have ever seen before. The sailors onboard are very friend­ly and hap­py to wel­come us. We’ve been get­ting lost at every turn and every­one onboard, no mat­ter their rank, is hap­py to point us in the right direc­tion,” Troop­er Davis said.

Qual­i­fy­ing LCM8 dri­vers, as well as trans­port dri­vers from the 3rd Brigade, have been the ear­ly focus of Exer­cise Squadex 2012, which will tran­si­tion to Exer­cise Sea lion 2012 next week.

Per­son­nel from 35 Water Trans­port Squadron have also demon­strat­ed their capa­bil­i­ty with suc­cess­ful embark­ing and deploy­ment evo­lu­tions using the Lighter Amphibi­ous Resup­ply Car­go (LARC).

While amphibi­ous oper­a­tions are ongo­ing, on the flight deck Black Hawk pilots from the 5th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment have been busy con­firm­ing their deck land­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

HMAS Choules is 176 metre long and crewed by 158 offi­cers and sailors, includ­ing a per­ma­nent­ly embarked Ships Army Depart­ment of 22. The ship can accom­mo­date two large heli­copters, 150 light trucks and up to 350 troops.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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