Home Asia Pacific Australian M1 Abrams tanks test their sea legs in major amphibious exercise

Australian M1 Abrams tanks test their sea legs in major amphibious exercise

M1A1 Abrams tank on a navy light landing craft
An Australian Army M1A1 Abrams Tank is loaded onto a Royal Australian Navy light landing craft, during Exercise Sea Explorer. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Close to 2,000 personnel from the Australian armed forces wrapped up their participation in the Sea Explorer amphibious exercise in North Queensland.

One of the most important milestones achieved by the evolution was the first tactical deployment of M1A1 Abrams tanks in amphibious operations.

The Australian amphibious force marked the first at Cowley Beach during the second major activity of the Sea Series suite of exercises.

Commander 1st Division Major General Jake Ellwood said the achievement showed Defence is advancing its warfighting capability in the coastal environment.

“During Exercise Sea Explorer we were able to demonstrate our capacity to project a mechanised combat team onto land from the sea,” Major General Ellwood said.

“Troops rehearsed beach landings with a range of military vehicles, including the M1A1 tank, using a variety of landing craft and with Australian Army ARH-Tiger and CH-47 Chinook helicopters in support.”

Embarked in HMA Ships Canberra and Choules, the Australian amphibious force conducted wet and dry environmental rehearsals, combat enhancement training and force integration.

 An M1 Abrams inside the well deck of landing helicopter dock HMAS Canberra. 

Troops trained day and night to familiarize forces with the conduct of amphibious operations.

Commander Amphibious Task Force Captain Leif Maxfield said the exercise provided a fantastic opportunity to learn and test new skillsets in the amphibious environment.

“The Australian amphibious force is a scalable, joint force enhancing the ADF’s ability to achieve the nation’s defense and maritime strategic objectives and interests throughout the region,” Captain Maxfield said.

“Exercise Sea Explorer enables our soldiers, sailors and aviators to practice a range of procedures and capabilities in complex and challenging scenarios.”

The training will intensify next month on Exercise Sea Raider when the Australian amphibious force take the lessons learnt on this exercise, and put them in to practice during a range of realistic amphibious assault and raid rehearsals as part Exercise Talisman Sabre.