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The NZ Defence Force will be participating in the world’s largest international maritime exercise, Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC 2012), conducted near Hawaii from 29 June to 3 August.
HMNZS TE KAHA, HMNZS ENDEAVOUR, the Operational Diving Team and the Mine Counter Measures Team, a Rifle Platoon from 1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K Orion, and a number of headquarters staff will take part in the exercise.
“This is the first time in 28 years that the NZ Defence Force has taken part in RIMPAC. It offers a key opportunity to work alongside a large number of Pacific nations building interoperability and relationships,” says Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Dave Gawn.
“Participation in exercises like RIMPAC also enables the Defence Force to prepare for a variety of contingencies to ensure that New Zealand can play its part effectively in working with other nations to reduce conflict and improve stability in the Pacific and around the world.”
RIMPAC 2012 will involve 22 countries, a total of 25,000 personnel, 42 ships, six submarines, and over 200 aircraft. Other nations include; the US, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, India, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Russia and Tonga.
“As the largest maritime exercise in the world, RIMPAC offers our people a unique training opportunity - for our Navy to exercise weapons and sensors, for an Army infantry platoon to embed in a US Marine Corps company and conduct amphibious taskings, and for an Air Force P3K crew to conduct air taskings in a complex multi-national environment,” adds MAJGEN Gawn.
“Developing our amphibious capability is a key focus for the Defence Force as we work towards establishing a Joint Amphibious Task Force, where units from all three Services operate as one force.”
RIMPAC 2012 is hosted by the United States. New Zealand’s defence relationship with the US continues to develop. A number of US Marines recently took part in Exercise Alam Halfa in New Zealand.
The Defence Force has co-operated with the US in a number of areas over recent years, including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the Pacific and support for respective Antarctic national programmes, as well as working together in the NATO/ISAF coalition in Afghanistan.