Aug. 2 (UPI) -- The multinational naval exercise Talisman Sabre 2021, involving about 17,000 personnel, successfully concluded off the Australian coast over the weekend.
Typically a biennial interoperability exercise of the navies of Australia and the United States, this year's two-week iteration also included the Royal Canadian Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy.
Small contingents of ground troops of Australia, Japan, Britain and New Zealand also were involved, as were F-35B fighter planes of the U.S. Marine Corps and F-35As of the Royal Australian Air Force.
It was the first time that the Australian F-35As and U.S. Marines F-35Bs participated in the exercise. The Marines' F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing jets of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 were joined by Bell-Boeing MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor helicopters of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, both units stationed in Japan.
"During Talisman Sabre our Marines and Sailors were able to hone and demonstrate our ability to fight in a distributed maritime environment alongside our partners and allies," Col. Michael Nakonieczny, commanding officer, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, said in a statement on Sunday.
"Talisman Sabre allowed us to focus on littoral training, improve readiness and interoperability, while demonstrating that wherever we go, whatever we do, we do it together," Nakonieczny said.
On the sea, partner nations conducted integrated amphibious and air defense operations, and practiced tactical maneuvering and replenishments at sea.
The event this year was reduced in scale, from about 34,000 troops in 2019, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ground troops were subject to a two-week quarantine before joining the land exercises, which took place in Australia's northeastern Queensland state.