High Mobility Artillery Rocket System
21 July 2015
The powerful capability of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) was displayed during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 (TS15) at the Bradshaw Field Training Area (BFTA).
The HIMARS was deployed to the Northern Territory by the 3rd Battalion 12th Marine Regiment (3/12), an artillery battalion based in Okinawa, Japan.
HIMARS is able to engage and defeat artillery, air defence concentrations, B-vehicles or light armour and personnel carriers, as well as support troop and supply concentrations.
The HIMARS launches its rockets or missiles then moves away from the area at high-speed before enemy forces can locate the launch site.
CO 3/12, Lt-Col Neil J. Owens, said the HIMARS was a long-range precision fires capability which provided accurate fires to within 10 metres, out to a range of 300km.
"The system can fire in all weather conditions, which means it can provide support when other agencies, such as aircraft, are unable to do so and it is deployable by the C-130 aircraft," Lt-Col Owens said.
"Our presence at the BFTA is an indication of our ability to deploy the HIMARS anywhere within the United States Pacific Command area of responsibility and demonstrates our ability to be prepared for any type of exercise or bilateral activities and contingencies.
"BFTA is a great training area for our battalion and we have been working with the Australian soldiers from 8/12 Regt RAA, which was a tremendous opportunity for us.
"We have learnt a great deal working with them – they are very professional troops."
TS15 is the largest combined military exercise undertaken by the ADF and provides invaluable experience to ADF personnel to improve combat training, readiness and interoperability by ex-posing participants to a wide spectrum of military capabilities and training experiences.
During the exercise two guns from 8/12 Regt's 101 Bty joined 3/12’s Mike Bty to fire as a combined Australian and US eight-gun M-777 battery.
Capt Christopher D'Aquino, of 8/12 Regt RAA, said it was very impressive to see the United States Ma-rine Corp's deep-strike capability.
"It ties in well to Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFITADS) used by the Australian Army and shows us how the marines use it in their construct," Capt D’Aquino said.
"During TS15 we have also been conducting air-mobile operations in order to provide deep-strike support and brigade assaults.
"Our guns were air-lifted by CH-53 Super Stallion for the first time and our forward observers were in-serted by USMC Black Hawks.
"It was a demonstration of a big capability, considering our transition under Plan Beersheba, and that we don’t have CH-47 Chinooks based in Darwin."