Long-range fires a feature of Talisman Sabre 2023

Type 12 truck launched anti-ship missile.
Type 12 truck launched anti-ship missile.

The 2023 edition of the Australia-led multinational military exercise Talisman Sabre, which formally commenced on 21 July and concluded on 4 August, was held across five Australian states and territories and comprised over 34,000 military personnel from 13 countries with drills conducted across sea, land, air, cyberspace, and space.

A key highlight of the event were the numerous long-range guided missile and artillery evolutions that occurred for the first time in the Talisman Sabre series.

On 22 July, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) conducted a live fire demonstration of a Type 12 surface-to-surface missile (SSM) off the Australian east coast, marking the first time the JGSDF has tested the capability in Australia.

The Type 12 SSM, which did not include explosive ordnance, was launched from a truck-mounted system at Beecroft Weapons Range and fired at an unmanned target in the East Australia Exercise Area off the coast of Jervis Bay.

The JGSDF also launched a Type 03 medium-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) during a separate live fire demonstration at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland.

In other Talisman Sabre firsts, the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) deployed its K239 Chunmoo multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and K9 Thunder 155/52 mm calibre self-propelled howitzer.

The US Army also fired an MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) via the M142 High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for the first time on Australian soil. The missile was launched from the Delamere Air Weapons Range located 120 km south of Katherine to the Bradshaw Field Training Area located near Timber Creek.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) took the opportunity to enhance its understanding of the HIMARS system operations during Talisman Sabre, with Australian and US troops performing HIMARS deployment, recovery, and launch drills using the latter’s MC-130J Talon aircraft. Australia approved the procurement of 20 M142 HIMARSs under Project Land 8113 Phase 1 in January.

In addition to Australian, Japanese, South Korean, and US military personnel, soldiers, sailors, marines, and aviators from Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and the United Kingdom also took part in the exercise. Military observers included India, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

by Jr Ng