Forces attack during Exercise Hamel currently underway at Shoalwater Bay Training Area near Rockhampton.
Forces attack during Exercise Hamel currently underway at Shoalwater Bay Training Area near Rockhampton.

Troops spearhead bid for $15b state windfall

BRISBANE-based military troops will spearhead the nation's overseas deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and disaster zones.

It comes as the Queensland capital vies to become the home of a $15 billion defence industry as Australia's biggest garrison city.

In a time of regional instability, huge military training areas in Central and North Queensland are also being vastly expanded and developed for large-scale combat manoeuvres in a $2 billion deal with Singapore.

As Brisbane's 7th Brigade prepare to take over as the Australian Army's Ready Combat force from Sunday, News Queensland this week embedded with 8500 troops to witness the biennial Exercise Hamel.

Fighter jets, helicopters, warships, tanks, armoured vehicles and ground troops blitzed an 800-strong enemy with a spectacular full-scale military assault to end war games at Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton yesterday.

In a typical urban warfare scenario, troops also practised clearing villages of insurgents hiding among the civilian population.

Australia's new helicopter drone technology, in a first, was also used to broadcast real-time and thermal imagery of the battle space.

"Brisbane's 7th Brigade have broken new ground with a combat element for the first time coming off the Navy's new amphibious platform,'' Brigadier Ben James, Director-General of Training, exclusively told News Queensland.

"Exercise Hamel is to train, orchestrate, and synchronise the entire ADF capability," he said.

"And they've come through in spades.''

Darwin's 1st Brigade, Townsville's 3rd Brigade, and Brisbane's 7th Brigade, based at Gallipoli Barracks in Enoggera, annually rotate responsibilities as the Ready Combat force, on call to respond to war and disaster.

"In the next 12 months, 7th Brigade will almost certainly have men and women in Afghanistan,'' Brigadier James said.

"They'll be in Iraq undertaking a training mission with the Iraqi defence forces there, and as we've seen more recently, likely see other deployments to help our friends in the Philippines and further afield.

"In the event of any disasters, they'll be on duty for evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and protecting indigenous populations.''

Latest advances in information warfare also saw army intelligence units practising against fake twitter feeds, fake news reports and military propaganda.

"We have to replicate what happens in the real world,'' Lieutenant Colonel Greg Colton, director of the Army's COVE, said.

In the Middle East, the Taliban and ISIS terrorists have taken to ambushing social media with fake reports of atrocities in the battle for hearts and minds of civilians.



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