CANBERRA, Australia, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Australia's new amphibious ready force is making its debut in a series of exercises beginning this month that will lead to initial operational capability.
The Amphibious Ready Element is comprised of 900 Australian soldiers and government personnel and four MRH-90 helicopters embarked on the landing helicopter dock ship HMAS Canberra, the Department of Defense said.
According to the commander of the of the amphibious task force taking part in the exercises, Royal Australian Navy Capt. Jay Bannister, the focus is on integration of the joint force with the ship and projecting land forces across the beach by air and landing craft.
"The training will enable Canberra, and her very diverse and capable embarked force, to learn how to operate as an Amphibious Joint Task Force," he said.
The exercises will last until October off the coast of northern Queensland State.
"This capability will enhance the defense of Australia and support our strategic interests in the region, including the ability to support government's provision of humanitarian aid during disaster response," said Maj. Gen. Stuart Smith, commander of the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters.