More than a thousand Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel have started deploying to Derby, North Western Australia, at short notice to test security response arrangements as part of Exercise NORTHERN SHIELD 2016.
Exercise NORTHERN SHIELD is an ADF training activity where high-readiness forces deploy quickly to North Western Australia in response to a simulated security threat.
The exercise will see members of the Army and Air Force rapidly deploy to the region around Broome and Derby to counter a fictitious force posing a threat to Australia’s national security.
Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said the exercise incorporates force preparation activities, Special Forces activities, land force manoeuvre, air mobile operations and maritime activities.
“Exercise NORTHERN SHIELD 2016 demonstrates the ADF’s capacity to project forces in the northwest, should the need arise to protect the population, resources and infrastructure.
“NORTHERN SHIELD also allows us to exercise a range of capabilities in support of border protection operations,” Vice Admiral David Johnston said.
“It is an important activity for the ADF and the region, and we have worked hard with both the local authorities and community to minimise any disruption.
“There will be some extra aircraft noise and Defence activity on the roads for a short time and I’d like to thank the people of Broome and Derby for their support.”
Protecting Australia’s North West is a key priority for Defence. Smaller scale counter terrorism exercises are routinely held in the region and surveillance measures are in place to detect potential threats.
Exercise NORTHERN SHIELD builds on these security measures and Exercise Director, Colonel Brent Chaloner said the exercise follows detailed discussions between the ADF, other Government agencies and local mining and resources companies.
“The exercise will evaluate certain ADF capabilities as well as improve on previous lessons learned from Exercise NORTHERN SHIELD 15,” Colonel Chaloner said.
“NORTHERN SHIELD is designed to make sure we can all work together - state authorities, industry and the ADF - to be ready to respond to any contingencies in the region and provide an agile, decisive and effective deterrent to any future challenges.”
The exercise will incorporate multiple Navy, Army and Air Force platforms including Anzac Class Frigates, Armed Reconnaissance (Tiger) and Black Hawk Helicopters from the Australian Army and C-17A Globemaster III, C-130J Hercules, KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport; AP-3C Orion, KA350 King Air, and F/A-18 Hornets from the Royal Australian Air Force.