Page 84 - Australian Defence Magazine September 2018
P. 84

MRH-90 Taipans from the 5th Aviation Regiment and conducted tactical opera- tion, including many at night, in support of the amphibious landing.
The Tiger ARH will recommence First of Class flight trials aboard Navy’s LHDs this month, after the previous program was disrupted by the propulsion prob- lems suffered by the two vessels last year. The aim is to have an embarked ACE made up of all three of Army’s combat helicopters aboard one of the LHDs in time for the 2019 Sea Series and Talis- man Sabre exercises.
“Hamel 2018 was the first time we’ve had two different aircraft types em- barked, in the CH-47F and MRH-90, and next year we’ll have the Tiger ARH aboard as well,” remarked BRIG James. “The Tiger also operated very effective- ly from shore during the exercise and provided outstanding support for our ground-based elements.”
New platforms and
New ground was also
broken during Hamel
2018, in terms of the
first use of Army’s pro-
tected vehicle fleet be-
ing delivered under
Land 121 and it was the
first major test under
operational conditions
of battlefield telecommunications systems being rolled out under Project Currawong (JP2072 Phase 2B).
Currawong is a scalable, distributed Integrated Battle Telecommunications Network (I-BTN) system being delivered by Boeing Defence Australia to replace Army’s ageing Parakeet capability. It is doing this in two stages of equipment release up until 2020 and the project achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in July, 2018. Initial feedback has
been overwhelmingly positive and the system reportedly performed extremely well during Hamel.
“Our communications always form a crucial and formal part of the exercise evaluation. Together with our Battlefield Management Systems they are evolv- ing capabilities that are giving our com- manders much greater situational aware- ness to improve the speed at which we can make decisions,” BRIG James said. “Our communications systems performed very well. We are certainly gaining a better situational awareness of what’s happen- ing in our battlespace and we also used Hamel to carry out trials of wireless se- cret networks as well, to give us greater flexibility in establishing our command and control nodes.”
Together with Navy’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Unit, Army also conducted Vertical Take Off and Landing UAS trials in the SWBTA during the exercise, using Navy’s Schiebel S-100 Camcopter systems.
“We are starting to turn our mind to how we modernise Army’s UAS capabil- ity for the future and part of that was the Camcopter trial,” BRIG James added. “We were able to trial that platform, to- gether with its sensor package, on the exercise and it performed very well. It certainly helps Army’s modernisation efforts when we can trial all these things during an exercise scenario.”
The whole of government dimension
Yet another first for the exercise this year was the inclusion of Government repre- sentation from organisations like DFAT and the AFP. This dimension has exer- cised previously during Talisman Sabre, but never before in a Hamel scenario.
One of the scenarios involved a short notice Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO), which is one of the outcomes Army must be able to demon- strate to Government. One of the partici- pants from DFAT was a former Head of
Australian Army soldier, Craftsman Oscar Wallis conducts post-flight checks on an Australian Army MRH-90 helicopter at Shoalwater Bay Training Area during Exercise Hamel 2018.
78 | September 2018 |
“The Tiger operated very effectively from shore during the exercise and provided outstanding support for our ground-based elements.”

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