Australian Defence Forces concludes Exercise Highball

Exercise Highball has successfully concluded in Lancelin, Western Australia with the live fire of long-range land-based rocket artillery against a maritime target.

​Noteworthy, this exercise is a combined Australian Joint Operations Command and United States (US) Indo-Pacific Command initiative.

Further, the exercise used a range of air, land, space and maritime capabilities to test United States Army High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) long-range fires concepts.

Flown across Australia by a Royal Australian Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, a US HIMARS platoon deployed to Lancelin for the live-fire component of the exercise.

Once in position the launcher was fed targeting data that resulted in a direct hit on a small offshore target positioned beyond visual range in the Western Australia Exercise Area.

The exercise follows the Australian Government announcement in January 2023 of the purchase of HIMARS launchers and associated munitions, which will be accelerated into service in accordance with Defence Strategic Review 2023 direction.

Air Vice-Marshal Michael Kitcher, Acting Chief of Joint Operations, said Exercise Highball demonstrated how the operational integration of new strike assets was being urgently developed and expanded upon.

Highball has shown the Australian Defence Force and its US partners how they can employ new capabilities like HIMARS at the operational-level.

Further, the Defence Strategic Review emphasised how Australia’s land forces must provide Defence with long-range strike capability.

And, Exercise Highball has clearly demonstrated how the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) is pursuing this need.

To be noted that the United States HIMARS were also demonstrated at the combined live firepower demonstration in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023.