Sitting in a cavalry screen far forward of 7th Brigade Battle Groups, the Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle surveilled Objective Otter during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 (TS23) as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the 1st Australian Division.
CAPTION: Australian Army Private Samuel Austen-Wilkins, left, and His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga Lance Corporal Sione Atoa mounted in an Australian Army Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle during Exercise Talisman Sabre. Story by Major Roger Brennan. Photos by Corporal Nicole Dorrett.
Commander 7th Brigade Brigadier Michael Say said the platform has proven to be a formidable and lethal capability, most recently having tested its target acquisition systems to shoot down unmanned aerial systems (UAS) loitering in the sky.
“The Boxer has achieved a number of firsts in recent months,” Brigadier Say said.
“2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment conducted its first squadron-level manoeuvre live-fire in July, and we’ve also tested its lethality in prosecuting UAS targets.”
However, TS23 was also the first time His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga have integrated with the Boxer, as part of Battle Group Warhorse, to provide a dismounted infantry and cavalry scout capability.
CAPTION: Soldiers from His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga work alongside soldiers from the Australian Army during Exercise Talisman Sabre.
“The Tongan soldiers are a force multiplier that provides a dismounted anti-armour capability to seek out and destroy enemy tanks and reconnaissance vehicles,” Brigadier Say said.
“Dismounts also enable ground to be held for longer periods, which enables operations like bridging to be conducted in the rear.
“The combined effects of this allow for quick manoeuvre to achieve brigade or divisional objectives.”
Graduate of the Royal Military College (RMC) – Duntroon, His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Tau Aholelei said operating with motorised or cavalry units was a new experience for his soldiers.
“We supported the tactical actions of the reconnaissance battle,” Lieutenant Colonel Aholelei said.
“We shared ideas and learning from each other so we could integrate our forces as part of our commitment to regional security.
“Our partnership is growing, and it was great to work alongside some of my old friends from RMC.”