Exercise Highball has advanced understanding of how the ADF will employ long-range land-based precision rocket and missile fires in the land and maritime domains.
CAPTION: A high mobility artillery rocket system is loaded on C-17A Globemaster in preparation for Exercise Highball at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Story by Major Cam Jamieson. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Taylor Anderson.
A combined Australian Joint Operations Command and US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) initiative, last month’s exercise used a range of air, land, space and maritime capabilities to send targeting data to a US Army high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) platoon.
Two HIMARS launcher vehicles from the US Army I Corps’ 17th Field Artillery Brigade were hosted by Army’s 13th Brigade at Irwin Barracks near Perth ahead of a live-fire from the Lancelin Defence Training Area onto a maritime target located in the offshore Western Australia Exercise Area.
Commander 13th Brigade Brigadier Brett Chaloner said the opportunity to host and collaborate with the US HIMARS team had been insightful and instructive.
“Army and 13 Brigade have been rapidly adapting their posture and purpose in Western Australia,” Brigadier Chaloner said.
“Exercise Highball provided an opportunity to explore options that allow us to rapidly integrate and employ critical combat systems like HIMARS in novel ways, and in partnership with other systems and sensors.”
Brigadier Chaloner said Army’s mastery of long-range fires was critical to Army’s future.
“Land-based long-range fires are one of the core elements of the Defence Strategic Review’s recommendations,” he said.
“HIMARS and associated capabilities will deliver persistent land and maritime strike effects that can dominate a given area, including maritime approaches, while having greater survivability because of the unpredictability of the exact location of any system at any given time.
“In the context of 13th Brigade’s mobile and expeditionary nature, the capabilities of the HIMARS mitigates the challenges generated by the vast distances across Western Australia and across the region.”
CAPTION: Destined for Exercise Highball, two US Army HIMARS launcher vehicles drive off a RAAF C-17A Globemaster at RAAF Base Peace, WA. Photo by Corporal Nakia Chapman.