Major multinational military exercises in Australia including a large contingent of US troops resumed after authorities found debris from a helicopter that crashed late Friday in waters off the country’s northeast coast.
(Bloomberg) — Major multinational military exercises in Australia including a large contingent of US troops resumed after authorities found debris from a helicopter that crashed late Friday in waters off the country’s northeast coast.
Exercise Talisman Sabre, biennial defense maneuvers featuring more than 30,000 personnel, restarted in a limited way on Saturday, mostly in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, exercise director Brigadier Damian Hill said at a televised press briefing.
The search for the aircraft’s four missing crew members continues. The MRH90 Taipan went down in darkness during the exercise late Friday close to Hamilton Island, near the coast of Queensland state. Some wreckage has been retrieved in an operation that includes police and naval vessels as well as specialist divers.
The accident has overshadowed Exercise Talisman Sabre, a two-week training program that’s partly a showcase of Australian-US unity to discourage potential Chinese aggression.
This year’s version of the exercise was the largest yet, featuring livefire drills and amphibious landings. The maneuvers also coincided with a visit to Australia by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for talks with their Australian counterparts.
Read More: US Military Footprint in Australia Expands to Counter China
All MRH90 operations have been halted across the Australian defense force, Brigadier Hill said. The helicopters have suffered from repeated maintenance issues in recent years and are being replaced by US-designed Black Hawks from this year.
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