RNZAF’S New Aircraft Take Flight

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

15 February 2019

A new aircraft will be seen flying around New Zealand, with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) putting into service four Hawker Pacific King Air 350 (KA350) aircraft it is leasing to replace the Beechcraft 200s.

The KA350 mark a new era in training pilots to fly multi-engine planes and provide the RNZAF with a complete training package, because the aircraft will also be used for air warfare officer training.

Air Commodore Darryn Webb, Assistant Chief Capability NZDF, said the KA350, the first of which arrived last year, had been modified specifically for the RNZAF to provide a comprehensive training platform for aircrew, who would move on from them to the C-130 Hercules, P-3K2 Orion or Boeing 757.

“Having the KA350 aircraft at Ohakea means we no longer have to send our air warfare officers overseas to train,” Air Commodore Webb said. “We now have an aircraft that is fully equipped with training consoles and a mission management system that covers all aspects of training required to graduate air warfare officers.

“Our training is also multi-dimensional, because we can now provide multi-crew training for graduated KA350 pilots while concurrently training air warfare officers.

“The KA350 is a step up from the B200 in both capacity and capability. It’s a great aircraft that will serve the RNZAF well.”

The aircrew training capability contract with Hawker Pacific New Zealand includes the lease and performance-based support of the KA350 fleet, modified with customer tailored airborne and ground systems, including specialist systems supplied by MAROPS and Rockwell Collins.

The KA350 aircraft will be based at RNZAF Base Ohakea, as were the Beechcraft 200s.


NZDF Officer in South Sudan Sees Hope Amid Poverty and Despair

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

18 February 2019

A New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) officer serving in South Sudan thinks there is hope for the war-torn country despite widespread poverty and despair caused by decades of conflict in the area.

South Sudan’s civil war, which erupted in 2013, has led to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. About 400,000 people have died, more than four million have fled their homes and about half of the country’s 12.5 million people face severe hunger because of the conflict.

“New Zealand, and the NZDF in particular, is making a worthwhile contribution in a very challenged nation,” said Major James Martin, who is a Military Observer for the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).

Major Martin, who grew up in Melrose, south Wellington, is based at Malakal in the north-eastern part of the country close to the borders with Sudan and Ethiopia.

He works with 24 other UN Military Observers from 18 countries to carry out patrols around the Upper Nile state. He also helps liaise with government and rebel forces to arrange access for UN personnel and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Dust storms, daytime temperatures that soar to 42 degrees, venomous mambas and stray dogs are among the day-to-day challenges he has to deal with. However, mostly he is confronted by the immense challenges faced by people in the conflict-torn Central African country.

Many people were living in makeshift settlements with no medical facilities, schools and basic utilities, he said.

During a recent patrol he helped a medic from the Rwanda Defence Force provide first aid to two South Sudanese children who had infected wounds.

“One of the boys, who was about four, had an open cut on his foot and was walking barefoot in the mud. The other boy, who was about three, had a five-centimetre wound on his scalp that was seriously infected. We told his mother that the child needed to go to the nearest Medecins sans Frontieres clinic but unfortunately that was 100 kilometres away.”

Although government forces and rebel groups are mostly adhering to the peace agreement signed last September, the people were sceptical that it would hold, Major Martin said.

Born in Tunbridge Wells in the United Kingdom, Major Martin emigrated to Wellington with his family when he was eight.

Following in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, who was an officer in the British Army, he joined the New Zealand Army in 2010 after graduating with an honours degree in English literature and economics from the University of Otago.

“The Army seemed more interesting than an office job and my experiences so far have proven that.”


NZDF Makes Significant Contribution to Antarctic Scientific Programmes

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

18 February 2018

New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel from all three services have made significant contributions during a busy summer season in Antarctica.

Scott Base, New Zealand’s permanent research support station on the continent, accommodates about 85 scientists and support staff, while McMurdo Station is the hub of United States scientific activity in Antarctica and home to more than 900 scientists and support people during the summer.
A big part of the deployment was the delivery by ship of a year’s worth of cargo to New Zealand’s Scott Base and McMurdo Station and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. About 50 New Zealand Army drivers and logistics experts played a key role in the delivery, unloading more than 500 containers holding about 5000 tonnes of food and equipment and delivering them to the bases.
A team of 20 Army engineers are undertaking valuable building projects for the United States Antarctic programme.
Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) personnel have been deployed on the United States’ cargo ship Ocean Giant and the US Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star, gaining experience that will be beneficial when the RNZN’s newest tanker, HMNZS Aotearoa, operates in similar waters.
Over the summer pilots and crew from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) No. 40 Squadron fly in C-130 Hercules and Boeing B757s to the frozen continent, carrying cargo and passengers. RNZAF maintainers help support not only those aircraft but also the LC-130 Hercules fleet belonging to the New York Air National Guard at Williams Field runway.
Senior National Officer for Operation Antarctica Lieutenant Commander Ross Hickey said up to 220 NZDF personnel work at Scott Base and the US National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station between October and February, making it the largest NZDF mission during the summer.
“NZDF personnel make up one-fifth of the support team at Scott Base, where we have operated for more than 60 years now,” Lieutenant Commander Hickey said.
“We’ve got chefs who are cooking throughout the summer, communications operators who work the radios – they’re talking with science teams in the field 24/7 and we’ve got cargo personnel who are loading aircraft and supporting intracontinental science events here throughout the whole of the summer.”
The biggest extreme the team had to combat was the weather, he said.
“Not only does the extreme weather test us, but it also provides us an opportunity to work in a really austere environment that we can actually relate to – it’s not unlike working in Iraq or Afghanistan in the middle of winter.”
Scott Base manager Paddy Power said the NZDF had a huge impact on the New Zealand scientific programme.
As well as services to the station itself, including chefs and communications and logistics experts, it also provided support through assets such as the Hercules and Boeing flights that delivered cargo and passengers to the continent, Mr Power said.
“Without the NZDF we would not be able to deliver the level of science that we do for New Zealand.”
The NZDF has operated in Antarctica since 1957, when Army engineers travelled on HMNZS Endeavour and built the first Scott Base hut. Every year since then the NZDF has deployed personnel to the remote region.
Acting Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Brigadier Jim Bliss said the NZDF contribution to Antarctic research was expected to expand as new capabilities came on stream in coming years.


NZDF and Police Conduct Search and Rescue Exercise in Turangi

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

14 February 2019

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) conducted a search and rescue exercise this week with New Zealand Police as part of ongoing efforts to ensure both services operate together seamlessly during what are often life-saving situations.

Police Senior Constable Barry Shepherd said that as part of the exercise, about 40 personnel from Police and New Zealand Land Search and Rescue practised being winched out of a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) NH90 helicopter at Turangi Airfield.

“These personnel have not previously worked with an NH90 helicopter so it was an opportunity to familiarise them with its operating procedures,” Constable Shepherd said.

Air Commodore Tim Walshe, the Air Component Commander, said the winching practice was useful because many search and rescue operations are conducted in areas where it is not possible to land helicopters.

“In many cases, winching is the only viable option to get search personnel or people being rescued to or from the ground safely,” Air Commodore Walshe said.

New Zealand Land Search and Rescue personnel were winched out of an NH90 helicopter into the bush during the recent search and rescue operation for a 60-year-old tramper who went missing in the Tararua Ranges.

The NH90 has two rescue hoists that can lift up to 250kgs and can fly in most weather conditions, day or night.

The NZDF’s search and rescue capability delivers vital public service in New Zealand and overseas. One RNZAF NH90 helicopter, one RNZAF P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft and one Royal New Zealand Navy vessel are on standby for search and rescue callouts at all times.


Upper Hutt Man Seeing the World With the Navy

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

13 February 2019

Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Warfare Officer Lieutenant Nick Braun says waking at 3am for the morning watch is usually when he questions his choices in life.

That all goes away when he steps on to the bridge.

“Dawn comes and you’re in formation with 10 other ships, there are helicopters flying overhead, and you’re in a different part of the world, or you’re somewhere in New Zealand that you haven’t seen before.

“That’s when you remember why you are here.”

Lieutenant Braun, 25, is from Upper Hutt and was head boy at Heretaunga College. He joined the RNZN straight after finishing school.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to study, and I didn’t want to waste money and time working it out,” he said. “I wanted a hands-on job – I wanted to be out there, doing something.”

A recruiter pointed him towards the RNZN and he started researching it and signed up.

Eight years later, Lieutenant Braun is the Executive Officer (second-in-command) of HMNZS Hawea, an inshore patrol vessel with a crew of 38.

The ship visited Wellington this month during a warfare officer training trip down the North Island and to Nelson.

During his time in the RNZN he has been to almost every port in New Zealand and about 20 countries, many with frigate HMNZS Te Kaha.

He has participated in Rimpac, the largest military maritime exercise in the world, in Hawaii, has undertaken counter-narcotics busts in the Indian Ocean and spent six months deployed throughout South East Asia.

But some of his high points have occurred closer to home. Inshore patrol vessels assist the Ministry for Primary Industries in fisheries monitoring, and Lieutenant Braun is a qualified boarding officer.

“I really enjoy going out, meeting the crews, and seeing the changes in how the fisheries officers are viewed,” he said. “Five years ago there would be a little tension. These days the fishing crews know that making sure the rules and regulations are adhered to means there is fish for them to catch today and there will be fish to catch in the years to come, by keeping the fisheries sustainable.”

His next posting will be like coming home – he’s going to Trentham as a Maritime Operations planning role at Joint Forces New Zealand – and he would like to go back to his college and talk about the RNZN.

“You’re always developing and it’s not like you have one career – you’re always moving around, taking on new challenges,” he said.

“The military is great if you are not sure what the next step is – it’s training in intense environments, and really sets you up for the rest of your life.”


Air Force Band Presents Winds Over Wellington

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

12 February 2019

Some of the most substantial works written for symphonic bands will be presented by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Band in its latest concert, Winds Over Wellington.

The concert will be in Lower Hutt Town Hall on Thursday, 14 March.

RNZAF Director of Music Flight Lieutenant David Gallaher said the artistic programme of pivotal English wind band repertoire was challenging and a great test of the band’s talent.

“The RNZAF band features some of Wellington’s top professional musicians, and this programme will really show their abilities,” Flight Lieutenant Gallaher said.

“You’ll hear the seminal works of Jacob, Arnold, Holst, Graham Sparke and Bourgeois, which will really explore the rich depth of tone and colour that the RNZAF band possesses.”

One of the band’s accomplished performers is Corporal Lauren Draper, who has played clarinet with the RNZAF band for 10 years. A full time veterinary nurse, she studied classical performance at university but also likes to play jazz and more modern styles. 

The Winds over Wellington concert series gave the band members a chance to play a variety of styles and showcase some more difficult classical works, she said.

“These works can be technically quite challenging, which means it’s important to feel practiced and prepared in your own part before heading to rehearsal. 

“I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to perform. This concert series gives us a chance to learn a new and interesting repertoire and work with some amazing soloists.”

Additional concerts will be added at a later date.

Tickets are available at Ticketek.

What: The RNZAF Band presents Winds over Wellington

When: 7.30pm, Thursday, 14 March, 2019

Where: Lower Hutt Town Hall


Ohakune Man to Help Tackle Tasmanian Bushfires

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

8 February 2019

Corporal Gordon Munn, one of five New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) firefighters who went this week to help tackle the Tasmanian bushfires, is confident their training has prepared them for the tough job ahead.

The NZDF firefighters have joined a Fire and Emergency New Zealand team assisting about 500 personnel from Tasmania Fire Service and other parts of Australia.

Corporal Munn said he had read the news about the extreme conditions that fire crews in Tasmania were facing but was confident that their training would serve them well.

“We’ve learnt various techniques to fight big fires and we are looking forward to working with the Tasmania Fire Service and the rest of the crew that are already there.

“Hot and dry conditions make it very challenging for firefighters to contain fires and climate change will make it even worse in years to come.”

While pleased to be able to help the people of Tasmania, Corporal Munn said his thoughts were also with his NZDF colleagues currently helping control the raging bushfire in Nelson.

Eighty-five NZDF personnel have now been sent to Nelson, working with crews from Fire and Emergency New Zealand and Department of Conservation, helping New Zealand Police enforce cordons in affected areas, supporting Civil Defence, and ready to help evacuate residents from Wakefield if that becomes necessary.

The youngest of four children, Corporal Munn was a volunteer firefighter in Ohakune for five years before he enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in September 2014. During that time he attended bushfires and house fires.

He comes from a family of firefighters. His father Kevin was a volunteer firefighter until his death two years ago, while his three elder sisters were also volunteer firefighters.

“Our parents instilled in us the volunteering ethos,” he said. “Through their example, we learnt what a fantastic opportunity it is to help other people.

“Like any other job, you do your best. In our case, we work to contain the fire, save people’s lives and protect properties,” Corporal Munn said.

Currently based at RNZAF Base Woodbourne, he is also a volunteer with the Blenheim Fire Brigade.

He said his family was very supportive of his upcoming deployment.

“They think it’s a great opportunity for me to do what I’m passionate about, which is to help people.”


NZDF Firefighters to Help Battle Tasmanian Bushfires

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

6 February 2019

Five New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) firefighters will go to Tasmania this week to help battle the bushfires that have been burning for weeks in the state’s southeast.

Multiple bushfires, which started before Christmas, have been burning across Tasmania’s south and central plateau, putting communities at risk and burning more than 190,000 hectares so far. Communities south of Hobart and in the Huon Valley are reportedly among the most affected.

Tasmanian authorities said hot and windy conditions and a lack of rain meant it was an uphill battle for firefighters to contain the fires.

Lieutenant Colonel Terry McDonald, the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Engineer Regiment, said the NZDF firefighters would join a large Fire and Emergency New Zealand team assisting crews from Tasmania Fire Service and other parts of Australia.

The NZDF contingent comprised four personnel from the New Zealand Army and one from the Royal New Zealand Air Force and would be deployed for at least 16 days, he said.

NZDF contingent leader Army Corporal Karl Mouldey said this was the first operational deployment overseas for all five members of the contingent.

“This is what the Defence Force is all about – to help those in need and do something good for the community,” Corporal Mouldey said.

Firefighter Lance Corporal James Nunan said the deployment to Tasmania was a great opportunity to help New Zealand’s closest neighbour.

“The Australians were among those who came to our aid following the destructive earthquake in Christchurch in 2011 and the 2016 earthquake in Kaikoura. We help each other out, as good neighbours do,” Lance Corporal Nunan said.

Since Monday, 12 NZDF firefighters have also been sent to help control vegetation fires that have flared in the South Island.

NZDF firefighters are called upon regularly to help respond to emergencies in New Zealand and overseas. They helped control wildfires in Canada and the United States last year, Christchurch and the Coromandel in 2017 and Tasmania in 2016.


NZDF Sends Personnel to Battle Nelson Wildfire

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

7 February 2019

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending seven firefighters and three fire trucks to support the emergency response to the Nelson wildfire.

Brigadier Jim Bliss, the Land Component Commander, said four firefighters and two fire trucks from Linton Military Camp had been deployed to Nelson this afternoon.

Three more firefighters and a fire truck are also being dispatched from RNZAF Base Woodbourne.

Air Commodore Tim Walshe, the Air Component Commander, said a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 Hercules aircraft en route to Auckland from Christchurch had been diverted to Wellington to pick up personnel from Fire and Emergency New Zealand and New Zealand Police and fly them to Nelson this afternoon.

Since Monday, 12 NZDF firefighters have been sent to help control the vegetation fires that have flared in Canterbury and Marlborough.


NZDF Celebrates 25 Years of Open LGBT Service

Source: New Zealand Defence Force

7 February 2019

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), named in 2014 the world’s most inclusive military, is about to begin a year celebrating Pride 25, marking 25 years since lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) personnel were welcomed to serve openly.

A flyover by a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion at Sunday’s Big Gay Out at Coyle Park, Point Chevalier, in Auckland is the first in a series of public events throughout the year that the NZDF will take part in to celebrate Pride 25. This will include the Wellington International Pride Parade on 16 March and a photo portrait exhibition in Auckland of current and past LGBT+ personnel.

“Pride 25 aims to remember those who had to once serve in silence in our Navy, Army and Air Force, to celebrate how far we have come, and to inspire our latest leaders across our Defence Force to continue efforts to make the NZDF a diverse and inclusive military,” Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short said.

Following the passing of the Human Rights Act in 1993, the NZDF moved swiftly to incorporate the Act into its policies, and in early 1994 openly homosexual men and women were able to join and serve.

In 2014 the NZDF was named by the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies as the world’s most inclusive military.

“It’s sad to reflect there was once a time in this country where people were legally discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality, including here at the Defence Force, where being homosexual was considered incompatible with service in uniform,” Air Marshal Short said.

“In those times lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff members were forced to hide their true selves from their Service and colleagues. And, of course, there were fine people who left us during that time because they didn’t feel welcome, safe or valued.

“Today, the NZDF is a global leader in military LGBT+ inclusion and as we reflect on how far we have come in 25 years, we think the transformation from exclusion to inclusion is worth sharing and celebrating.” 

The NZDF must continue its journey to become more inclusive and diverse, through programmes like Operation Respect, to make sure it was offering a welcoming and rewarding career to talented New Zealanders, Air Marshal Short said.

“Having a workforce with diverse backgrounds, skills, and thinking has been built into our strategy to ensure our Defence Force continues to succeed for New Zealand in the complex global security environment.

“The NZDF is a force for New Zealand.”