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Start your engines: combined Air Forces kick off Talisman Sabre 23

  • Published
  • By Capt. Margaret Kealy-Machella

Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, Australia – The U.S. Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force in the Northern Territory and Western Australia kicked off Talisman Sabre 2023 with the first integrated flying missions on July 23, 2023.

Talisman Sabre is a biennial large-scale military exercise between Australia and the United States that started in 2005. This is the 10th and largest iteration of the exercise, with more than 30,000 personnel from 13 countries participating.

“This iteration of Talisman Sabre is not only the largest, but the most complex, high-end, multi-domain air component training we have undertaken thus far in a Talisman Sabre,” said Col Brian Baldwin, commander, 13th Air Expeditionary Wing.

“We have a long history of mateship with our Australian allies, and opportunities such as Talisman Sabre allow us to further strengthen our collective interoperability across not only the operations aspect of our mission, but in our logistics, maintenance, and support functions as well.”

Enabling agile air operations across thousands of miles requires extensive logistics and support function preparation. This massive undertaking was executed in the weeks prior to the start of the exercise by members of the Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Air Force, side by side, and continued on through the execution.

The logistics efforts were not only the physical air movement of people and equipment across the country from one point to another, but also the planning for fuel, cargo inspections, lodging, meals, and other support functions for all those participating in the exercise.

“Logistics are absolutely critical in large scale exercises such as Talisman Sabre, ” said U.S. Air Force Maj. James Tringas, Director of Logistics, 13th Air Expeditionary Wing, assigned to 759th Logistics Readiness Flight, 459th Air Reserve Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. “Through preparation and now execution of TS23, we continue to validate our agile combined logistics capabilities, leaning heavily on the RAAF logistics infrastructure and support, to enable the projections of airpower across Australia.”

Projecting a large number of air assets across the north and west of Australia is no easy task. That task is well worth the undertaking as the airspace available in the region enables aerial training like nowhere else in the country. The bilateral missions are taking full advantage of the airspace, utilizing it for large force employment within the exercise.

“One of the things the Top End provides is an amazing amount of airspace for these types of high-end war fighting exercises,” said Air Commodore Pete Robinson, Commander, Air Task Group. “What you can do in the Top End is what you can’t do anywhere else in the world.”

Bilateral exercises such as Talisman Sabre are designed to build trust, and strengthen interoperability among key allies through shared experiences, side by side execution of all aspects of the mission and realistic training. These exercises build upon each other, with each iteration growing in scale and cope, further integrating our forces to ensure readiness for any challenge the allies face.

“The alliance with the United States is critical for the security of our country. And we can't be more pleased to continue that relationship now, and in the future through exercises and training,” said Air Commodore Pete Robinson, Commander, Air Task Group. “It’s a potent force that we’re bringing together, that does some fairly amazing things.”