Amid a captivating scene for war games, the Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle demonstrated its effectiveness during Exercise Tourism Sabre 2023 (TS23), serving as the “eyes and ears” of the 1st Australian Division. The platform has proven to be a formidable and versatile capability, primarily focused on testing its target acquisition systems for intercepting unmanned aerial systems (UAS) hovering in the sky. TS23 also marked the first time the Armed Forces of Tonga engaged with the Boxer, a part of Battle Group Warhorse, to provide dismounted anti-armor capability for locating and neutralizing enemy tanks and reconnaissance vehicles. Dismounted troops also enable ground forces to remain operational for extended periods, enhancing overall objectives,” stated Commander 7th Brigade, Brigadier Michael Say.
Australian Army Private Samuel Austen-Wilkins, left, and His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga Lance Corporal Sione Aloea participated in an Australian Army Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle during Exercise Talisman Sabre. (Photo by Corporal Nicole Dorrett)
Graduate of the Royal Military College (RMC) – Duntroon, His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Taufa Aloeloelei said operating with motorized or cavalry units was a new experience for his soldiers. “We supported the tactical actions of the reconnaissance battle. We shared ideas and learning from each other so we could integrate our forces as part of our commitment to regional security. Our partnership is growing, and it was great to work alongside some of my old friends from RMC,” Lieutenant Colonel Aloeloelei said.
The Boxer is a versatile armored fighting vehicle designed by the ARTEC GmbH (its parent companies are Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall) under a multinational group and the program is managed by OCCAR (Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation). 211 vehicles have been ordered by the Australian Army, with deliveries expected to continue until 2026. Vehicles to be delivered include the Land 400 Phase 2 program. The first 25 Boxers, consisting of 13 multipurpose and 12 turret-reconnaissance variants, were manufactured in Germany through 2021 to meet Australia’s capability requirement for familiarization and training, having been handed over to the army in September 2019.
Soldiers from His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga worked alongside soldiers from the Australian Army during Exercise Talisman Sabre.