Talisman Sabre 21

Talisman Sabre Crest

Welcome to Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 (TS21). Here you will learn about TS21, the importance of the exercise for preparing our military, and how we involve the community and protect the environment.

TS21 is the largest bilateral combined training activity between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and United States (US) military. It is designed to test our respective forces in planning and conducting Combined and Joint Task Force operations and improve the combat readiness and interoperability between Australian and US forces.

Occurring every two years, Talisman Sabre reflects the closeness of our alliance and strength of our enduring military relationship.

TS21 is the ninth iteration of the exercise and consists of a Field Training Exercise incorporating force preparation (logistic) activities, amphibious landings, ground force manoeuvre, urban operations, air combat and maritime operations. 


Approximately 17,000 military personnel from seven nations are participating on land, air and sea during TS21.

Working closely and sharing skills and knowledge, these nations are demonstrating cooperative defence capabilities, which is fundamental to shaping our strategic environment.

View the approximate breakdown on the Participants page.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Defence is adjusting how it does business while still maintaining operational readiness. TS21 is critical to Defence maintaining that readiness.

Defence has worked with relevant State and Territory authorities – including Chief Health Officers – to design an exercise that achieves its objectives while being safe for the Australian community and participating forces.

The arrival of international partners for TS21 will not affect the number of returning Australians.

International forces entering Australia are subject to the same requirements as any international arrival – including pre-departure screening and testing, mandatory 14-day individual quarantine and returning a negative COVID-19 test result before exiting quarantine.

Comprehensive COVID-19 risk management plans – agreed to by relevant state and territory health authorities – will also be implemented throughout the exercise

Planned locations

TS21 exercise activities are planned to occur in inland Queensland including Hughenden, the Charters Towers region, ADF Townsville Field Training Area (TFTA), Atherton and Mareeba coastal locations including Bundaberg, Stanage Bay peninsular, ADF Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA), Bowen, Proserpine, Ingham region, Lucinda, Forest Beach, ADF Cowley Beach Training Area (CBTA), Innisfail, Cairns and RAAF Scherger, as well as Evans Head in NSW. 

Townsville will see increased military presence over this time, mainly at Lavarack Barracks and RAAF Townsville, and on the roads between there and Charters Towers.


TS21 will run from late June to mid-August 2021, this time frame includes the initial surge of equipment and people and their subsequent departure after the exercise. Exercise activities will peak during 18-31 July 2021.

Lead up training will occur in Queensland locations prior to TS21. While that training is separate to TS21, please contact us if you have any questions and we will direct your question to the appropriate team to respond.

Community involvement

The ADF has a long history of training and living in Queensland. For many it’s our home and where our families live.

Extensive engagement has occurred with graziers, local and state governments, communities and businesses, indigenous representatives, environmental authorities such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and industry groups such as AgForce.

We really appreciate the very strong support shown for TS21.

It is important as many interested parties as possible hear about the exercise and are encouraged to provide input. The TS21 website will be the central point of information. You can also contact us using the 1800 free call number or sending a query – details are at the Contact Us page. Media should call Defence Media on (02) 6127 1999 (24 hrs), Email: media@defence.gov.au

Environmental management

Defence takes all necessary steps to safeguard the environment during TS21. The ADF protects endangered species and marine mammals through a comprehensive framework of risk mitigation procedures developed after careful analysis of all Defence activities, ensuring it complies with relevant Queensland and Commonwealth legislation. Further information is on our Environmental Planning webpage.


Talisman Sabre News, images, YouTube and Social Media links


2021 image gallery