Canberra : The largest Australian-US joint military exercise kicked off Monday in Sydney, Australia's largest city.
The field exercise, Operation Talisman Saber 2007, is a biennial joint training initiative between the US Pacific Command and Australian Defense Force.
Australian forces participating in the exercise include 20 ships, 25 aircraft and 7,500 personnel, the Australian department of defence said.
US forces taking part include 10 ships, 100 aircraft and 20,000 personnel.
The exercise will be conducted at various locations including Townsville, Rockhampton, Amberley, Williamtown, Darwin and Brisbane.
Meanwhile, peace and religious groups are staging protests against the exercise, which will run until July 2.
The Australian newspaper reported Monday hundreds of people marched through Brisbane over the weekend, starting a week of rolling protests.
Annett Brownlie, convener and protest organizer of Just Peace, an anti-war organization, said about 1,000 people were expected to converge this week at a "peace embassy" established near Rockhampton.
Activists will also fly in from overseas to join the protests.