Darwin prepares for biggest Marine rotation yet

Elements of the 2018 Marine Rotational Force–Darwin (MRF-D) will begin arriving in the Top End this month to prepare for the seventh and largest rotation to date.

FILE PHOTOInternational observers disembark an MV-22 Osprey at South Goulburn Island to observe Exercise Crocodile Strike 2017. Photo by Sergeant Janine Fabre.

This year’s rotation will include 1587 US Marines, eight MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and an artillery battery of six M777 Howitzers.

Minister for Defence Marise Payne welcomed the increased Marine rotation, which she said underscored the commitment of both the Australian and US governments to the full implementation of the United States Force Posture Initiatives.

“These initiatives strengthen the ability of Australia and the US to work together, and with regional partners, in the interests of regional stability and security,” Minister Payne said.

Since 2012, the MRF-D has been increasing in size and complexity, further enhancing the interoperability and capability of Australian and US forces.

“During major exercises the rotation will include additional equipment and assets such as AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters, UH-1Y Venom helicopters, F/A-18 Hornet aircraft and MC-130 Hercules aircraft,” Minister Payne said.

“The increase in personnel and capability will enable a broader range of exercises and training activities with the Australian Defence Force and other regional nations.

“During the six-month training period, the US Marines are expected to participate in 15 training activities alongside the ADF.

“Other regional nations, including Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and many more will also participate in or observe some of these training activities.”

This year’s MRF-D is expected to complete the rotation of training in Australia in October.

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Brian Hartigan

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