Monday, May 27, 2024

NZDF strengthens airpower in multinational exercise

New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has contributed personnel to training with partners in an international exercise designed to test the fast movement of aircraft over long distances.

Exercise Mobility Guardian involves around 3,000 personnel and 70 aircraft. Led by the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command, the multinational exercise is being conducted out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam from 5-21 July.

Military forces from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are conducting operations alongside U.S. Joint Force elements.

Members of the New Zealand Defence Force and Royal Canadian Air Force work together to unpack cargo during Mobility Guardian 23 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Malissa Lott).

Air Component Commander, Air Commodore Shaun Sexton said 32 NZDF personnel have been deployed on the exercise where they will be involved in a range of scenarios including aeromedical evacuations, aviation refuelling and airbase operations, which will strengthen interoperability with partner nations.

“Exercise Mobility Guardian enables us to build capability and interoperability with our partners, and show our shared commitment to regional security and stability,” he said.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force aviator looks out the window of a Royal Air Force A400M Atlas during a familiarisation flight over Hawaii during Mobility Guardian 23 (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Pick).

Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Ravinder Phagura said the scenarios were based on a contingency response simulating a real-world situation, ranging from conflict to natural disaster support.

“The exercise serves as a crucial platform for our personnel to sharpen their skills and foster excellence in a multinational environment. By engaging in realistic scenarios and practicing essential manoeuvres, we are reinforcing our readiness and ensuring operational effectiveness for future missions,” Squadron Leader Phagura said.

Among those deployed are Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel from the fields of aeromedical evacuation who provide care and support to patients between medical care facilities, along with refuelling and firefighting personnel, and communications and mission planners.

The New Zealand Army has deployed soldiers from 51 Aerial Delivery Platoon, 5 Movements Company, to support the exercise with rigging and the inspection of air drop bundles.

“Participating in this assembled combined force exercise is a significant opportunity for us to strengthen interoperability and coordination among NZDF elements and our partners. By leveraging our airpower enablers, we are paving the way for enhanced collaboration and shared capabilities,” Squadron Leader Phagura said.

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