Australia: Squadron Sea Kings to Work Hard During Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011

Sea Kings will be worked hard during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 (TS11) which will be the aircrafts last major exercise before they face retirement after a career of 35 years.

The three 817 Squadron Sea Kings were flown overland from HMAS Albatross to the exercise area at Shoalwater Bay in seven and a half hours.

LCDR Grant Anson, Detachment Commander 817 Sqn, said their main role was to assist the Combined Force Logistic Component (CFLOGC) and Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC) in resupply and logistics tasks.

“We have 50 to 60 members in the detachment and we will be responsible for tasks in Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) and for the ships in the exercise area off the coast,” LCDR Anson said.

“One of the secondary tasks we could be used for is rotary wing Aero Medical Evacuation (AME) which the aircraft is good at except we do not have an overland night capability so a civilian contractor is on call for that task.”

Australian Clearance Diving Teams (AUSCDT) Three and Four have joined with a US mobile unit for TS11 and will be responsible for clearance of the surface and under water areas of the wharves, ship-borne Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and conventional Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD).

There are 6 members on each of the Australian teams and the US team is made up of 12.

POCD Ben Abbott, AUSCDT Four, said the Australians integrated well with the Americans and the only challenges were in aligning the different procedures.

“The main challenges for TS11 will be environmental — there is currently zero visibility in SWBTA and there is a large tidal flow along the wharves which we will still have to dive in.

AUSCDT equipment includes the RE70 Disruptor which can be deployed either close-up to the target Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) or IED in the conventional way or with a significant stand off from the target.

The RE70 can be configured either as a disarmer for firing a range of solid projectiles or a disrupter for firing a range of fluid and frangible projectiles.

The Talon EOD robot is another tool used by the clearance divers and is controlled by either radio or line from a portable or wearable control unit that provides continuous data and video feedback for precise vehicle positioning.

PO Abbott said the Talon was purchased from the US and allowed the teams to do remote recon and IED disposal.

“TS11 has provided us with excellent training value and it has been good to be able to integrate with units of the Australian Army as well as the US Forces.”

“Meeting the logistics targets has been one of the biggest benefits to us during TS11,” PO Abbott said.


Source: navy, July 18, 2011