A Company of Army Commandos has parachuted out of three Air Force C-130J Hercules aircraft and into waters off Exmouth, Western Australia, to fight and defeat a simulated enemy during the inaugural Exercise Northern Shield.
The Special Forces contingent descended into Exmouth against the setting sun, loaded into zodiac watercraft and moved to a beach landing site, before conducting a late night raid to clear role player combatants in several buildings near a Defence facility.
Army and Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets conducted visual sweeps of the area prior to the mission, while the 2nd Commando Regiment soldiers called in Super Hornet jets from Darwin to confuse the enemy threat.
Colonel Brett Chaloner, Exercise Controller, said the Special Forces operation was successful and marked the start of Exercise Northern Shield.
“Last night’s operation has set the conditions for conventional forces to insert and commence clearance and security operations across the coming days,” Colonel Chaloner said.
“Exercise Northern Shield 2015 is about projecting a large force in a very short time to a remote area in North West Australia.
“It’s testing our ability to move here rapidly but also orchestrate actions against a realistic threat using airborne insertions, amphibious operations, airmobile operations, fast jets, reconnaissance teams and long distance strategic lift.”
MAJ R, lead planner for the Special Forces serials, said the parachute drop and night raid were highly successful.
“We conducted an airborne insertion via a Parachute Load Follow (PLF) where Commandos parachute out of multiple aircraft following Zodiac boat bundles,” MAJ R said.
“Once they hit the water, the Zodiacs were inflated and the Commandos rapidly infiltrated to the beach to reconfigure for their mission and subsequent action against the enemy.
“The Commandos then conducted a clandestine approach to the objective at night, cleared a number of buildings and neutralised the simulated enemy threat.
“This activity was an excellent way to confirm and maintain our Special Forces capabilities and further enhance our ability to respond quickly and lethally within a period of darkness.”
Exercise Northern Shield involves about 1000 personnel from the Army and Royal Australian Air Force. The major activities occur from the 19-24 September.
Royal Australian Navy vessels are not actively involved in this phase of the exercise but major fleet units were utilised for simulated maritime security tasks in the lead up to the activity.
Imagery is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20152526
Video has been fed to Perth media and the Federal Press Gallery.
Captain Jesse Platz – 0488 992 012 or email ExNS.PublicAffairs@defence.gov.au