SASR trooper scales a ladder to board HMAS Kanimbla during
SASR troopers conduct fast-roping exercises from a 5 Avn
Regt Blackhawk aboard HMAS Kanimbla during Exercise Mercury
04. Photos by Cpl Darren Hilder, 1JPAU(P)
Mercury tests national security
Capt Phil Pyke
(MPEG video 4.78 MB)
AN ARMED group took over a floating oil platform on the North West
Shelf, near Ashmore Reef. A large explosion occurred in Port Melbourne,
destroying a bus, and South Australian Police foiled the kidnapping
of a foreign delegate.
set the scene for Exercise Mercury 04 - Australia's largest and
most ambitious counter-terrorism exercise across three States, the
ACT and the NT.
tested Australia's planned and co-ordinated approach to national
security as part of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee's four
year $15.7 million expansion of the exercise program.
was also the first major test of the new counter-terrorism arrangements
since extensive preparations were made for the Sydney Olympics in
around attacks, bombings and kidnappings by a fictitious terrorist
group called the United Independence Front, the exercise scenario
saw the Prime Minister of Tarajara kidnapped from Victoria and flown
Woodside Petroleum platform was under the control of terrorists,
who boarded the rig from a small fishing vessel. Vehicle bombs exploded
in the Northern Territory and Tasmania, and with the rising number
of incidents it became apparent the resources of the ADF would be
the oil platform some distance from the coast, HMAS Kanimbla was
deployed to the region along with two Black hawks from 5AVN and
P3C carried out surveillance over the Timor Sea and the oil platform.
Tasmania, the terrorists occupied a fortified position around several
buildings. The involvement of an internationally protected person,
the Tarajaran PM, and the defences around the stronghold, saw the
resources of TAG(E) deployed to the Buckland region.
the exercise progressed, each State and Territory stood up their
respective police forward command posts, police operations centres
and State (or Territory) Crisis Centres - where senior government
members liaised with the Attorney General's Department in Canberra.
the NT Chief Minister and senior members of the Federal Government
were also involved as role players as the national counter-terrorism
alert was notionally raised from medium to extreme.
exercise progressed with a formal handover by the police forward
commanders in the NT and Tasmania to their ADF counterparts.
by both TAGs in the Timor Sea and Buckland were planned and rehearsed
before being executed at the same time on the final night of the
southern Tasmania, the Special Operations Group also seized a suspect
vessel at Port Huon with several terrorists on board.
co-ordinated assaults bought Ex Mercury 04 to a successful conclusion.
months of planning went into making the exercise as realistic as
possible, with dozens of exercise writers, umpires, and observers
involved behind the scenes.