NEW tanks acquired by the Australian Army have been tested out using Central Queensland's military training area.

Brisbane's 7th Brigade used its newly acquired M1A1 Abrams Tanks during an exercise for the first time marking the realisation of the Australian Army's Plan Beersheba.

Exercise Diamond Run involved five M1A1 Abram Main Battle Tanks conducting both live-fire and dry combined arms training at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

Commander 7th Brigade Brigadier Anthony Rawlins said while the Brigade had operated with tanks in the past, they've never been part of the Brigade's normal inventory.

"Tanks provide the firepower, protection and communications enabling the Combat Brigade to be heavy hitting on the battlefield, so it's very exciting," Brigadier Rawlins said.

"It also reaffirms the capability of Army to maintain the heavy combat power of a Beersheba Brigade in a suburban base in Enoggera, which is very important and the Brisbane community is really excited about it."


The incorporation of tanks into 7th Brigade is an important milestone for the Australian Army as it marks the conclusion of Plan Beersheba, a significant restructure of Australia's three combat brigades.

"This marks the logical conclusion of a transformational project that allows us to position Army in the contemporary battle space as both relevant and decisive," Brigadier Rawlins said.

The exercise is also the first time 7th Brigade soldiers are using the new EF88 Austeyer rifle, Mk47 lightweight automatic grenade launcher and soldier combat ensemble on a major exercise.

Diamond Run is 7th Brigade's largest exercise of the year and aims to evaluate the foundation warfighting skills of its soldiers before becoming the Australian Army's Ready Brigade next year.

It is particularly important for 8/9 RAR who will become the ready battalion group.

"If there is a requirement for a contingency response anywhere around the world, this is the organisation that will be ready to go," Brigadier Rawlins said.

"This is the lead in element of their future training cycle that will get them to the peak of readiness."

Over 1600 soldiers are taking part in the exercise which ran from October 14 - November 8.

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