The Australian Department of Defence has confirmed that elements of the 2018 US Marine Rotational Force–Darwin (MRF-D) are set to arrive in the country to start the seventh and largest rotation to date.
The marine rotation is slated to include 1,587 US marines, eight MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and an artillery battery of six M777 Howitzers.
It is intended to support the Australian and US governments’ commitment to ensuring the complete implementation of the US Force Posture Initiatives.
The MRF-D is claimed to have been increasing in size and complexity since 2012, thereby improving the interoperability and capability of the Australian and US forces.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said: “These initiatives strengthen the ability of Australia and the US to work together, and with regional partners, in the interests of regional stability and security.
“During major exercises, the rotation will include additional equipment and assets such as AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters, UH-1Y Venom helicopters, F/A-18 Hornet aircraft and MC-130 Hercules aircraft.”
Payne further noted that the US marines are expected to participate in a total of 15 training activities along with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) during the six-month training period.
Additionally, several countries such as Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are also set to either participate in or observe some of the training activities.
Payne added: “Australia and the US have a longstanding history of working together to promote peace, security and stability across the globe.
“Australia welcomes opportunities to work with the United States to foster greater cooperation with our regional partners.”
The Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) activities this year are set to comprise an air-based medical evacuation training mission, fifth-generation fighter integration and combat mobility activities with the US Marine Corps (USMC), as well as conducting integrated aircraft maintenance and expanding air-to-air refuelling capabilities.
The participating US marines are expected to complete the seventh rotation of training in Australia in October.