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US sends Ronald Reagan CSG for exercise Talisman Sabre 23 with Australia.

| 2023

According to information published by the US DoD on August 3, 2023, in the Indian Ocean, off Australia's northwest coast, the Talisman Sabre 23 military exercise is in full swing.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 USS Ronald Reagan sailed in unison with the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS North Carolina, the Ticonderoga-class cruisers USS Robert Smalls and USS Antietam, and the HMAS Perth. (Picture source: US DoD)

As part of this exercise, the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, representing Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5, is participating in sea, air, and intelligence integration alongside the Royal Australian Navy.

The engagement involves a combination of maritime exercises with the USS North Carolina, a Virginia-class fast-attack submarine, and the HMAS Perth, a Royal Australian Navy vessel. Air missions are being conducted by Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, with participation from the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.

A significant part of this year's exercises was the inclusion of an Australian intelligence team led by Commander Darryl Scott from the Royal Australian Navy Information Warfare Force.

The integration of this team aimed to enhance the understanding between the two naval forces, improving their ability to share intelligence, reporting, and data. This will prepare them better for future joint operations.

Moreover, the USS Ronald Reagan, along with the CSG staff, extended their hospitality to a group of Australian sailors from the crew of the HMAS Perth.

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is further strengthened by the inclusion of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers, the USS Robert Smalls and the USS Antietam.

The exercise, spanning several weeks from mid-July to early August, involves over 30,000 personnel from Australia, the U.S., and other international forces. Talisman Sabre, conducted every two years since 2005, is the U.S.'s largest military exercise with Australia.

US-Australian relations

The U.S.-Australia alliance was formalized in 1951 with the signing of the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty) Treaty. Despite New Zealand's later departure from the treaty's military aspects, the U.S.-Australia alliance remained strong, with a focus on collective defense. This treaty effectively marked the beginning of close military cooperation between the U.S. and Australia.

Naval cooperation is a crucial aspect of this relationship. Both countries regularly engage in joint maritime exercises, such as the aforementioned Talisman Sabre, to promote interoperability, enhance readiness, and develop professional and personal relationships among participating forces. Other significant joint naval exercises include the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and the annual Exercise Pacific Vanguard.

Furthermore, intelligence sharing between the two nations is another cornerstone of their military relationship. As part of the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance, which also includes the UK, Canada, and New Zealand, the U.S. and Australia work together to tackle global security challenges.

In terms of capacity building, the U.S. has assisted Australia in the development and modernization of its naval forces. Australia has purchased advanced U.S. military technology, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and the P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft. Meanwhile, Australia's naval build-up, including its future submarine and frigate programs, further reflects its commitment to the alliance.

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