Peace Time: August 15, 2002

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The Australian Army has held its largest wargames in two years, with the premier 1st Brigade functioning in a mechanized role. Its 5/7 Royal Australian Regiment (infantry with M113 armored carriers, Australia's only mechanized infantry unit) and 1st Armored Regiment (a battalion of Leopard-1 tanks), together with artillery, engineers, helicopters, and other units, conducted the exercises at the Mount Bundy training range. Australia is having trouble keeping its 1st Brigade ready to fight a mechanized battle, since the 5/7 infantry has been sent to Timor for peacekeeping as a light infantry unit and will be doing this again in October. Without this exercise, it would have been almost five years between the last and next time that the 5/7 trained with its armored vehicles, and "an entire generation of corporals and sergeants" would simply not know how to do it should a real mission present itself. Australia plans to spend $100 million to double its stocks of RBS-70 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.--Stephen V Cole

 


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