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Australian Army Masters Abrams Tank Refuelling via CH-47 Chinook Helicopter

For the first occasion in half a decade, the 5th Aviation Regiment (5 AVN) and 2nd Cavalry Regiment (2 CAV) executed a tactical refuelling of three M1 Abrams primary battle tanks via a CH-47 Chinook at the Townsville Field Training Area. As a component of Exercise Eagle Walk, soldiers rehearsed fuelling operations utilizing a quick method known as a ‘fat cow.’ Major George Flannery, of 2 CAV, who is the Officer in Charge for the tank squadron that amalgamated with 5 AVN units to perform the refuelling, stated that the tanks were the most shielded and destructive weapon system on the battlefield, yet they were “extremely fuel-hungry.”

“Our terrestrial refuelling resources, such as the HX 77 trucks, can’t always navigate places with rugged terrain. Hence, with these capabilities in tandem, we are confident refuelling can happen anytime, anywhere. The training was vital to sharpening soldiering skills. It’s crucial for us to rehearse this method, not only to discover ways we can expedite and simplify it in the future, but also to ready soldiers for forthcoming warfighting drills like Exercise Talisman Sabre,” Major Flannery expressed.

For numerous soldiers like 2 CAV armored crewman Trooper Travis Brown, it was their debut in a tactical refuelling operation. “You witness things you don’t encounter every day. For exercises of this nature, it’s beneficial for us to be in a field environment, committing errors so we learn how to rectify them. This readies us for the next tactical exercise, better prepared for what’s ahead,” Trooper Brown mentioned.

The Australian Defence Force’s operational fleet of Abrams is maintained by the Army’s three Armoured Cavalry Regiments in Adelaide, Brisbane, and Townsville. Furthermore, vehicles for training purposes are also stationed at the School of Armour in Puckapunyal and the Army Logistic Training Centre at Bandiana. To aid the Abrams, the ADF has manufactured seven M88A2 HERCULES (Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System) armored recovery vehicles.

The Australian Defence Force has utilized Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters for the majority of the period since 1974. Thirty-four of the type have entered Australian service, consisting of twelve CH-47C variants, eight CH-47Ds, and fourteen CH-47Fs.

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