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New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will be leading the way in a joint operational exercise with the Australian Defence Force off the Hawke’s Bay this week.
As a continuation of NZDF development in amphibious sealift capability, members of HMNZS CANTERBURY’s crew, NZDF personnel and NZ Army Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) will be onboard Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS MANOORA to participate in Exercise Joint Kiwi.
As part of Joint Kiwi, LAVs, troops, vehicles and supplies will be offloaded onto the beach at Perfume Point off Napier using HMAS MANOORA’s Landing Craft (LCM8’s). Flying activities using the RAN Ship’s SeaKing helicopter will also occur concurrently as part of the exercise.
Working with the Australian Defence Force enables the NZDF to develop and enhance their skills in the on-load and off-load of personnel, vehicles, material and supplies without requiring a formal port facility.
Commander of the Amphibious Task Force for Exercise Joint Kiwi Commander Tony Millar, Royal New Zealand Navy, said:
“The New Zealand Defence Force has substantially increased its ability to participate in total land-sea-air operations, and Exercise Joint Kiwi provides another step forward in the development of our amphibious sealift capability.
“While this is a training exercise, I have no doubt that working with HMAS MANOORA and gaining understanding of how she operates with NZDF assets such as LAV will prove invaluable in the future when we may be required to operate together in a real life event," Commander Millar said.
"Exercise Joint Kiwi enables our personnel to be well-trained for the specific operations that we currently encounter and will continue to face in the future."
The amphibious sealift capacity is particularly important considering the scope of NZDF operations in the Pacific over the last fifteen years. The NZDF has served in places such as Timor-Leste; Tonga; the Solomon Islands and Bougainville, as well as provided humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery support in the wider-Pacific such as with the Boxing Day Tsunami.
Exercise Joint Kiwi runs from 15 May to 17 May off the coast of Napier before returning to Lyttelton to offload NZ Army assets.
A number of NZDF assets are involved in the Exercise including Queen Alexandra Mounted Rifles (QAMR) Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) and an amphibious command element from HMNZS CANTERBURY on board HMAS MANOORA.
The Royal New Zealand Navy Operational Dive Team also provided hydrographic survey support leading up to the beginning of the Exercise.