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Big Kiwi Presence in Australia's Largest Warfighting Exercise

A Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter flies over the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area in Central Queensland during a flight integration training with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in the run-up to Talisman Sabre 2015.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter flies over the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area in Central Queensland during a flight integration training with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in the run-up to Talisman Sabre 2015.

5 July 2015

The largest warfighting exercise that Australia conducts with the United States military, Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015, kicks off today with around 620 personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) participating for the first time.

A Tiger helicopter and a Bushmaster from the Australian Army, a US Marine Corps V22 Osprey and a M777 Howitzer are among the military hardware on display during the public open day that is being held simultaneously today in Darwin in the Northern Territory and Rockhampton, Queensland.

"Over the next three weeks, we will be training with key partners, Australia and the United States, in a challenging multi-national environment," said Colonel Glenn King, Senior National Officer (SNO) for the NZDF contingent.

"By integrating our people and assets into a large force led by the Australians during training exercises, we are actually enhancing our ability to operate alongside them.

"Our participation in the exercise also demonstrates Anzac co-operation, and reinforces the close defence partnership between Australia and New Zealand," he said.

The NZDF has deployed two ships, four aircraft including two NH90 helicopters, 22 Light Armoured Vehicles and 23 other military vehicles for the exercise.

"Personnel from 3 Squadron are excited to be able to practise providing tactical helicopter support such as transporting troops in air assaults and air mobile operations, and moving equipment throughout the battlefield," said Wing Commander Scott McKenzie, Commanding Officer of the RNZAF's 3 Squadron and New Zealand’s Deputy SNO for the exercise.

During the exercise, the NH90s will operate as part of the ADF's 16th Aviation Brigade. They will be given short-notice tasks to support troops on the ground and conduct air mobility operations with the ADF.

Around 200 combat soldiers from the New Zealand Scots Squadron, Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles (QAMR Scots) will test their mettle in warfighting, including defending an urban area, while operating as part of the ADF's 7 Brigade.

"Talisman Sabre provides us the opportunity to see how other armies operate and to observe the skills, drills and equipment that they use," said Major Maia Baker, Officer Commanding QAMR Scots.

Navy frigate HMNZS TE KAHA will see “action” off Darwin in Northern Australia as part of the Opposing Force. The tanker HMNZS ENDEAVOUR will help refuel the 21 ships (including the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington) that are taking part in the exercise.

Talisman Sabre will see almost 30,000 troops training in multiple locations in Australia and the US. Most of the activity will be held in the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area in Central Queensland and Fog Bay in Australia's Northern Territory. Highlights include a beach landing at Fog Bay, an air drop and the co-ordinated firing of live ammunition and explosive ordnance from small arms, artillery, naval vessels and aircraft.

This year is the sixth time the exercise has been conducted and will involve planning and military operations at sea, in the air and on land. Talisman Sabre runs from today to 21 July.

ENDS

NZDF YouTube video:

This video features the different New Zealand Defence Force components taking part in Talisman Sabre 2015, the RNZAF NH90s as they practise flying and landing in formation, and the flight integration training undertaken by the NH90s and the Australian Defence Force’s MRH90s:  https://youtu.be/-69VujpGvq8

 


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