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.


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 will work with relevant authorities to understand and develop safe COVID practices while still allowing the exercise to achieve its objectives. Any community engagement that occurs will follow relevant government requirements at the time.

Where will TS21 take place?

TS21 exercise activities are planned to occur in Queensland including in the Charters Towers region and ADF Townsville Field Training Area (TFTA); coastal locations including Bundaberg, Stanage Bay peninsular, ADF Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA), Mackay, Bowen, Proserpine, Ingham region, Lucinda, Forest Beach, ADF Cowley Beach Training Area (CBTA) 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.

When is it being held?

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 Stanage Bay, SWBTA and the Townsville region 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.

How are communities being involved?

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

Community engagement is already underway with GBRMPA, graziers, local government, communities and businesses, indigenous representatives and industry groups such as AgForce.

We really appreciate the very strong support shown for TS21.

It is important that 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 by sending a query via 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.