It's A War Zone: Army Training Exercise An Awesome Display of Military Might

The Army shows off its advanced fire power in an impressive training exercise.

What you need to know
  • Exercise Chong Ju is the Army's annual Combined Armed Training Exercise
  • Conducted at Puckapunyal, north of Melbourne, the exercise is named after a successful battle in the Korean War
  • It's an opportunity to train soldiers in combined operations in a way not easily replicated outside the theatre of war 

Even with two layers of military grade ear protection, the sound is teeth-rattling. And awesome.

BOOM! Welcome to the -- BOOM! -- Army's annual Exercise -- BOOM! -- Chong Ju.

Fighter jets rain fire down on imagined targets. Attack helicopters join in with a hail of cannon fire. The shells of Abrams tanks arc across the valley, drawing the eye to its explosive conclusion.

BOOM!

Attack helicopters join in with a hail of cannon fire. Image: AAP

Exercise Chong Ju is the Army's annual Combined Armed Training Exercise. In layman's terms, it's Army personnel getting together to blow things up.

Conducted at Puckapunyal, an hour north of Melbourne, the event is named after a battle in the Korean War in which Australian troops successfully captured a key enemy position.

Today the targets are effigies placed in the bushland at Puckapunyal but the firepower is altogether more advanced.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have driven huge technological changes in our armed forces.

Exercise Chong Ju gives soldiers a chance to train in combined operations in a realistic setting. Image: AAP

In 2007 David "Poppy" Pearce died in Afghanistan when his vehicle ran over an IED. That led to a major re-think among the Army's top brass.

In the words of the man in charge of Exercise Chong Ju, Major-General Gus McLaughlin: "We don't have that many soldiers, we need to protect them."

He is speaking in front of the Army's latest acquisition, the Land 400 'Boxer' Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle.

"If Poppy had been in one of these, he'd still be alive."

There are less obvious advances on display, too. Inside the APCs and tanks, soldiers can send target data packages to the attack helicopter hovering over a nearby hillside.

The exercise isn't just a display of awesome military power -- though it is certainly that. It's also a chance to train our soldiers in combined operations in a way not easily replicated outside the theatre of war.

As fireworks go, there are few more impressive sights. Although, some of the locals were less than impressed.

Halfway through the display three kangaroos hopped to the front of the viewing platform. They watched for a moment, alongside the Generals and other top brass, but then came their cue to high-tail it.

BOOM!