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Unleashing Power: Australian Soldiers Train for Abrams Tank Refuelling with Chinook Helicopter

For the first time 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 combat tanks by a CH-47 Chinook at Townsville Field Training Area. As part of Exercise Eagle Walk, soldiers practiced fueling procedures using an improvised technique known as a ‘fat cow.’ Major George Flannery, of 2 CAV, who is the Officer Commanding for the tank squadron that collaborated with 5 AVN components to perform the refuelling, mentioned that the tanks were the most secure and deadly ωeapon system on the battlefield, but they were “extremely thirsty.”

“Our land refuelling resources, such as the HX 77 trucks, can’t always access locations with rough terrain. So with these capabilities working in unison, we know refuelling can take place anytime, anywhere. The training was crucial to refining soldiering abilities. It’s vital for us to practice this technique, not only to pinpoint ways we can do it more swiftly and effortlessly in the future, but also to ready soldiers for upcoming warfighting exercises like Exercise Talisman Sabre,” Major Flannery stated.

For numerous soldiers like 2 CAV armored crewman Trooper Travis Brown, it was their initial experience participating in a tactical refuelling. “You witness things you don’t see every day. For exercises like this, it’s beneficial for us to be in a field setting, making errors so we know how to rectify them. This leads us into the next tactical exercise better prepared for what lies ahead,” Trooper Brown expressed.

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

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

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