The deployment demonstrates the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific and working with partners in the region.
More than 150 UK personnel have joined troops from 13 other nations for Exercise Talisman Sabre, which took place across Australia and in adjacent waters, to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Talisman Sabre, which began on 22 July and ends today, is the largest military exercise between Australian, UK and US Armed Forces and is designed to strengthen partnerships and interoperability among key allies. It tests joint capabilities across land, sea, air, space and digital domains.
More than 34,000 troops took part in this 10th iteration of Talisman Sabre, which involved forces from Australia, Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea, Tonga, the UK and United States.
This year marks the UK’s largest contribution to Talisman Sabre, with capabilities from across the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force (RAF).
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
Security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific is essential. Exercise Talisman Sabre demonstrates the UK’s commitment to the region and the strength of our ties with friends and allies.
As part of Talisman Sabre, the UK Royal Marines Commando Force embarked on HMAS Adelaide, Australia’s largest warship, and conducted ship to shore landings, a capability that is essential for high-readiness crisis response.
Major Aran Sandiford, Commanding Officer of the Commando Forces, said:
The opportunity for UK Commando Forces to integrate with like-minded, specialist reconnaissance and raiding forces, really is invaluable. As well as being a fantastic chance to develop shared tactics and practice operating alongside key partners, deploying Commandos into the Indo-Pacific is one of the best ways of demonstrating the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region.
During this training, the head of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, visited the troops aboard HMAS Adelaide. The UK Commando Force previously deployed to the Indo-Pacific in March for exercise Ssang Yong 2023 in South Korea. More recently, the Force worked with many of the same partners in Talisman Sabre to support evacuation efforts in Sudan.
In Western Australia, a team from the RAF Support Force based at RAF Wittering provided logistical support for Talisman Sabre. They worked with their Australian counterparts to prepare more than 40,000 meals for more than 600 personnel exercising at RAAF Curtin, supporting F-35A and F22 fighter jet operations.
Service Personnel from 4 Regiment Army Air Corps also supported aviation efforts, conducting forward arming and refuelling, whilst 14 Signals Regiment provided Electronic Warfare capability, both increasing UK interoperability with Australian hosts. Observers from 4th Battalion Ranger Regiment and UK Space Command also took part in the exercise, signalling all areas of UK defence are to integrating with regional partners.
Exercise Talisman Sabre is a complex and ambitious exercise which involves risks, as the tragic loss of an Australian helicopter at sea on 28 July has reminded us. UK personnel assisted in search and rescue efforts for the crew and the Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin sent his condolences to his Australian counterpart for the tragic loss of four Australian Army soldiers.
The UK remains committed to the Indo-Pacific and working with partners in the region, as set out in the recently published Integrated Review Refresh and Defence Command Paper Refresh (DCPR). The DCPR confirmed the continued deployment of the Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels HMS Spey and HMS Tamar in the region. Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey recently met the crews of both vessels in Australia during a visit to engage top defence officials in the Indo-Pacific. The UK’s persistent maritime presence is set to be increased with visits from Commando Force Littoral Response Group later this year, and the Carrier Strike Group which will return in 2025, building on its maiden voyage in 2021.
The increased engagement with Australia comes a few months after the Prime Minister visited Washington DC where, alongside the President of the United States and Prime Minister of Australia, he confirmed that a British-led design has been selected for the AUKUS submarine project. The first generation of AUKUS nuclear submarines will be built in the UK and Australia, based on the UK’s world-leading submarine design and will support thousands of jobs in the UK, with many based in the North-West of England.