Amphibious Warfare

Airlift and air insertion by MRH-90 ‘Taipan’ is regarded as an important enabler of Australian Army amphibious warfare capability.

Interview with Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Pashley Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

Previously, one of the Australian Army’s general-purpose infantry units, the 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment Amphibious (2 RAR Amphib) is now optimised to provide the core of the Joint Pre-Landing Force (JPLF) for amphibious warfare operations.

Based at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville, 2 RAR left Forces Command to join the 1st Division in late in 2017 and then commenced its new PLF focussed role at the start of 2018, following its participation in several years of operational trials as the Australian Defence Force sought to develop its amphibious warfare capability.

The recent Sea Series of exercises held off the Queensland coast in May and June culminated with a couple of challenging amphibious actions where 2 RAR (Amphib) only provided the Pre-Landing Force for the first time since its transformation. These operations also included elements of 8/9 RAR as the Ground Combat Element (GCE), the first instance of Army rotating one of its general-purpose battalions in this role.

Fresh from the successful conclusion of the 2018 Sea Series and immediately before deploying to Hawaii, where 2 RAR (Amphib) participated with US Marine Corps and a range of other regional amphibious forces during the multi-lateral RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) exercises, Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Pashley took time out to discuss 2RAR’s amphibious capability.

Defence Today: What role has 2 RAR played in the development of the ADF’s amphibious warfare capability?

LTCOL Pashley: The members of 2 RAR (Amphib) take great pride from the central role that they have played in developing the amphibious capability. I took over as CO at the start of last year, so a lot of the work occurred before my time and the people before me have done some fantastic work. Just six years ago, Army decided that 2 RAR would conduct amphibious trials in support of the introduction of the new capability. The objective of 2 RAR’s amphibious trial was to inform decision makers ahead of Army adopting an enduring model.

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