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Koolendong military exercise set to wrap up in the Kimberley, with experts divided on its significance

Military exercises involving US and Australian forces across the Top End are wrapping up, but experts are divided on the significance of their move into Western Australia.

Exercise Koolendong 22 included action at Yampi Sound and Curtin Air Base in the Kimberley for the first time this year.

The mock operational exercise, which was expected to involve more than 2,200 Marines, soldiers and air and naval assets, has normally been staged out of parts of the Northern Territory. 

But the move into WA comes at a time when community leaders across the state’s north are advocating for more Defence installations to protect critical infrastructure in the region. 

Those calls increased after a Chinese spy ship was sighted and tracked off the state’s coast this year and a commitment by the federal government to review the locations of Defence assets

Chinese intelligence gathering ship sailing in open waters
A Chinese navy intelligence collection vessel operating off the north-west shelf of Australia.(Supplied: Defence Department)

Soldiers learn lessons in the Kimberley

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