Approximately 1,000 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are participating in Exercise Northern Shield 2015 in Exmouth, North Western Australia, to evaluate their preparedness to deploy in response to a simulated security threat at short notice.
During the exercise, army and Air Force personnel will rapidly deploy to the region around Learmonth and Exmouth to counter a fictitious force posing a threat to Australia’s national security.
The exercise includes force preparation activities, Special Forces activities, and parachuting, land force manoeuvres, as well as air mobile operations and maritime activities.
Australian Joint Operations acting chief major general Shane Caughey said: "Exercise Northern Shield 2015 demonstrates the ADF’s capacity to project forces in the north-west should the need arise to protect the population, resources and infrastructure."
The exercise features multiple navy, army and Air Force platforms, including the Australian Army’s Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters, as well as the C-17A Globemaster III, C-130J Hercules, KC-30A multi role transport tanker, AP-3C Orion, Beechcraft King Air KA350, and F / A-18A / B Hornet from the Royal Australian Air Force.
The Royal Australian Navy has not deployed any of its vessels for this phase of the exercise but its major fleet units were used for simulated maritime security tasks in the lead up to the activity.
Exercise Northern Shield director commodore Phil Spedding said the exercise follows detailed discussions between the ADF, other government agencies as well as local mining and resources companies.
Spedding said: "Northern Shield is designed to make sure we can all work together to be ready to respond to any contingencies in the region and provide an agile, decisive and effective deterrent to any future challenges."
Exercise Northern Shield is slated to become an annual training activity, and will conclude on 24 September.
Image: Soldiers assigned to 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment receive orders during Exercise Northern Shield 2015 in Western Australia. Photo: courtesy of CPL Janine Fabre / Commonwealth of Australia.