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Australian, US armies mark new level of interoperability at Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre'

The Australian and US armies have marked a new level of interoperability between the two services with the first-ever firings of Patriot surface-to-air missiles on Australian soil.

The firings, which was conducted as part of Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre' 2021, were carried out at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland on 16 July and involved a pair of MIM-104 Patriot missiles that were launched from a US Army M901 launching station.

Personnel involved in the firing included soldiers from the US Army's 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, who are based in Guam and Japan.

“We successfully demonstrated that we can operate with Australian weapons systems, that we can co-ordinate communications, and engage targets in the sky together,” said Captain Phillip Le, a battery commander of the US Army's 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, in a statement prepared by the Australian Department of Defence.

Janes was not able to obtain further information from the department regarding the exact Australian weapons and combat systems that were used in the firing, given confidentiality concerns.

However, a video released by an official social media channel maintained by the department indicate that the Royal Australian Artillery (RAA) were engaged with the same drone targets deployed for the Patriot missile firings. The RAA deployed the RBS 70 short-range surface-to-air missile system in this joint activity.

Exercise ‘Talisman Sabre' is the largest bilateral training activity between the Australian and US armed forces, and it is conducted biennially. The 2021 iteration also includes the participation of armed services from Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. There were also observer delegations from France, Germany, India, and Indonesia.

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