10 May 2023

Weipa preparing to play major role in military exercise

| Matt Nicholls
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RAAF Base Scherger, located about 30km east of Weipa, is expected to play a major role in next year’s Exercise Talisman Sabre.

A BARE base sitting on the outskirts of Weipa will come to life next year as Australian and American troops descend on the Cape as part of a major training exercise.

RAAF Base Scherger will be a central location for Talisman Sabre, a biennial exercise that brings the Australian and United States armed forces together, along with other allied nations.

Historically, most exercises have been staged near Townsville and Shoalwater Bay training bases.

Scherger has played a minor role in past exercises, including last year’s rendition, however that is expected to change next year.

“We’ve been in discussions about it for quite a while now,” Weipa Town Authority chairman Michael Rowland said.

“Most of the exercises will be centred around Scherger, but there will be some activity around the harbour.”

Mr Rowland said an advance team from the US was expected to visit Weipa next month to scout locations.

“I think it will be a good thing for Weipa, even if we don’t see a great deal in town,” he said.

“I think the Americans see real value in Scherger and its location and harbour access.”

While no dates have been announced by the Australian Defence Force, next year’s Exercise Talisman Sabre is expected to happen between late July and early August.

Specialist forces from Japan, New Zealand and other nations could also participate.

The ADF did not respond to Cape York Weekly in time for publication, however, an officer said locals could expect to see plenty of action next year.

“There’ll be a lot of jets flying in and out and there’s likely to be an activity that locals can come and watch,” he said.

“We’re still in the planning phase, though.”

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