Troops, armour and fighter jets are fanning out across north-west Australia, as Exercise Northern Shield 16 ramps up in the Kimberley.
Three Royal Australian Navy ships – HMAS Newcastle, Ballarat and Success are patrolling oil and gas installations offshore, as F/A-18A jets prowl the skies in response to a fictitious terrorist threat in the area.
Australian Army soldiers from the Ready Combat Team have flown in from 1st Brigade in Darwin and are now patrolling Broome and Derby in their Bushmaster vehicles, working with local police as part of the Exercise scenario.
Exercise Director, Colonel Brett Chaloner, said the response from the local people has been very positive, with many offering to take part. The support of the local community and shire councils is important for the Exercise to work.
"The positive reception and support we have received from all levels of the community has made the development of this training opportunity engaging. It has allowed us to script a series of dynamic training opportunities for the forces to contend with."
"Exercise Northern Shield provides the opportunity for the ADF to work alongside the West Australian Government and civil authorities to provide a rapid response capability," he said.
Exercise Northern Shield is designed to practice the ADF in deploying at short notice to remote areas of Australia and the region.
The ADF has been working with state and federal authorities, local councils and industry to train for a response to any contingency 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.