Soldiers from the Army’s 11th Brigade have arrived in Toowoomba for a week-long interoperability training exercise, EXERCISE ARRAS, with Queensland Police Service (QPS) to improve joint procedures.
EXERCISE ARRAS will see approximately 150 Army personnel deployed to the region as part of a response to a fictitious scenario. There will be an increase in activity around the O’Quinn Street depot and activities around the City Library and in Queen’s Park.
The public should not be alarmed if they see or hear aircraft, vehicles, unmanned aerial surveillance systems and military personnel carrying weapons. People who see the training should not be concerned that any of the locations are under any form of actual threat.
Exercise Director, Colonel Arran Hassell said the exercise built on previous joint responses conducted between QPS and Army personnel from the 11th Brigade over the past eighteen months, including support to border checkpoints and hotel quarantine as part of the COVID response.
“Every day we’ll have different activities in the city and around the region. Our personnel will be armed, however they will be adopting a neutral posture rather than offensive – it is our aim to effectively train our people alongside the QPS officers without causing concern or alarm amongst the community,” COL Hassell said.
The Army personnel participating in the exercise are drawn from the Queensland Army Reserve formation from several depots, including the 25th/49th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment.
“This is the first time we’ve done this exercise in Queensland, so it is exciting that we get to do it in Toowoomba,” COL Hassell said. “It is a safe environment, and we have a great relationship with local residents as a result of having bases at Oakey and Cabarlah, as well as our 25/49 RQR depot at O’Quinn Street.”
There will be a visitors’ day at the O’Quinn Street Depot on the afternoon of Friday 14th May. “We will have an ARH Tiger helicopter, a Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle and a range of other displays for those interested in having a closer look at Defence equipment, or having a chat with our people or a Defence Force Recruitment team.”
Ms Tina Turner
Regional Manager Public Affairs
Department of Defence