US Marines of the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) and members of the Australian Defence Force from Australian Army’s 1st and 13th Brigade, and Royal Australian Air Force’s 36th, 37th and 75th Squadrons have commenced Exercise Koolendong this week across the Top End.
The three-week warfighting exercise is being held at Defence training areas in the Northern Territory and for the first time, in Western Australia to simulate a response to a regional security crisis.
Australian Army Colonel Marcus Constable, Commander Headquarters Northern Command said the exercise built on the recent successes of Exercises Southern Jackaroo and Crocodile Response. “This annual exercise allows the ADF to rehearse with the US Marines in a combined arms littoral combat scenario,” Constable said. “Koolendong strengthens the US-Australian relationship, advances and validates USMC-ADF interoperability and demonstrates preparedness to respond to a regional crisis.”
US Marine Colonel Christopher Steele, MRF-D’s Commanding Officer, said the culminating exercise of the MRF-D demonstrates the potency of the US and Australian alliance. “We are deploying significant forces by land, air and sea to training areas in both WA and the NT including Mount Bundy Training Area, RAAF Base Curtin & Yampi Sound Training Area,” Steele said. “This mid-intensity warfighting exercise replicates elements of a combined joint littoral combat operation supported by capabilities from the US Army and US Air Force. The Australia-US Alliance has never been more important as we look ahead to our regional strategic challenges,” Steele said.
The Marine Rotational Force – Darwin is part of the United States Force Posture Initiative which demonstrates of the strength of the Australia-United States Alliance and our shared deep engagement with the Indo-Pacific region.