The Australian 2nd Cavalry Regiment is a reconnaissance regiment of the Australian Army and is the second most senior in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps. The regiment serves an armoured reconnaissance role and is attached to the 1st Brigade.
The regiment was formed in 1965 as 1st Cavalry Regiment through the regimentation of regular sqns in CMF regiments:
These two squadrons initially had no Regimental Headquarters or HQ Squadron. However, with reorganisation of the RAAC came both an RHQ and a new name. RHQ and HQ Sqn formed at Gallipoli Lines, Holsworthy in 1971. In order to avoid confusion, it was decided that the armoured regiments of the regular army would be numbered sequentially; 1st Armoured Regiment was the most senior, so 1st Cavalry was renamed 2nd Cavalry Regiment.
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When first formed, the regiment consisted of a reconnaissance squadron and an armoured personnel carrier squadron. This continued until 1976, when the Royal Australian Regiment took on a mechanised role, leaving 2nd Cavalry Regiment to concentrate on the reconnaissance role. By 1996 C Squadron was raised. All three squadrons were equipped with the M113 vehicle in the reconnaissance role until the mid 1990s, with the Regiment being re-equipped with the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) between 1995 and 1997. Among the specialised equipment used in reconnaissance by the regiment is the Australian Man-portable Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar (AMSTAR) system which is able to detect and recognise moving targets including personnel, vehicles, watercraft and low flying helicopters. AMSTAR has a target detection and classification capability at ranges up to 35,000 meters. Although the system can be moved by a few personnel it is commonly mounted on the ASLAV-S’s. A ruggedised laptop is used for data processing in conjunction with an aural indicator.
Since being re-equipped with the ASLAV the 2nd Cavalry Regiment has played a key role in Australian military operations. In 1999 C Squadron deployed to East Timor as part of the initial Australian contribution to INTERFET, with the ASLAVs providing the Australian force with the majority of its mobility and armoured support during the early days of the intervention. Detachments from the Regiment supported all subsequent Australian troop deployments to East Timor.
More recently, 2nd Cavalry Regiment has deployed its ASLAVs to Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion. The Regiment’s initial role was to provide armoured transport for Australian diplomats and military personnel based in Baghdad and northern Iraq. The Regiment has also formed a key element of the Al Muthanna Task Group, with the Regimental Headquarters commanding the initial rotation and a squadron from the Regiment forming part of the first two rotations of Task Group elements.