Australian Commandos Attack and Take a Ferry Under Control in Military Exercise (Photos)

SIDNEY, (BM) – Australian commandos attack and take a ferry under control in military exercise, learned, according Australian DoD.

The scenario was part of Exercise MARS Rotor Anchor Toothfish (RAT), a key exercise for the Sydney-based Tactical Assault Group – East (TAG-E) – the ADF’s “in extremis” counterterrorism force drawn from 2nd Commando Regiment.

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Along with the maritime counterterrorism exercise on Sydney Harbour, MARS RAT also included a ship-at-anchor recovery of a large merchant vessel off Port Kembla, New South Wales, and a coordinated split assault on two linked strongholds: a high-rise in Melbourne’s CBD and shipping facility in Hobart.

Photo credit: Australian DoD

Lead-up component and refresher training meant the commandos were “fully versed” in the activity, according to Corporal B, who said increased access to training resources was great for the team.

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“We moved TAG-E down to Melbourne for the high-rise scenario, with some of the team driving and others flying,” he said.

Photo credit: Australian DoD

“From there, we assaulted the building from both ends, utilising Black Hawks to get us on top, while other callsigns moved up through the building’s stairwells.

The regiment’s HR/CT (hostage recovery/counterterrorism) company that makes up TAG-E includes a RHIB boat team, commando assaulters, commando snipers, a dedicated medical team, and is supplemented by Navy clearance divers.

This mix of skills gives ground commanders many approach options, with Captain N saying the addition of Navy clearance divers added flexibility.

Photo credit: Australian DoD

“The exercise is really about consolidating our key domestic counterterrorism skills,” Captain N said.

“Part of that is the maritime counterterrorism piece, where we have a remit out to 200 nautical miles/ We covered off on ship-alongside and ship-underway assaults, including sub-surface approaches with our divers.

“We were also working on force projection, using helicopters to launch us into top-down assaults to achieve vertical envelopment and using Royal Australian Air Force assets to deploy interstate.”

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While MARS RAT gave the company an opportunity to hone its maritime counterterrorism and aerial insertion skills, it’s not the culmination of their training program.

Photo credit: Australian DoD

Because of their unique mandate, it has to be prepared for any eventuality.

“TAG is basically the Australian government’s fix for any situation that is beyond the capability or capacity of the state police,” Private R said.

“I can put my hand on my heart and say the guys I work with are the best. You want to come to work every day and you want to push to achieve your goals because you’re with like-minded people.”

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Source: Australian DoD

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