Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and U.S. Air Force (USAF) aircraft and personnel will combine to participate in day and nighttime flying exercises in New Zealand later this month.
While in New Zealand, MC-130J aircraft and USAF personnel will train alongside RNZAF C-130 Hercules and personnel from No. 40 Squadron.
The training will be based at RNZAF Base Auckland as well as RNZAF Base Woodbourne, near Blenheim, and is designed to maintain crew currency and improve interoperability between the two countries’ militaries. It will include low-level flying by day and night, night vision training, tactical flying, military freefall jumps and air drops of equipment.
High quality training activities are essential for New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel to maintain their ability to respond when called on, Defence said in a statement today.
“Training with partner nations allows New Zealand to integrate capabilities, build interoperability and execute complex and realistic operations as a combined team,” it said.
“Exercise Nocturnal Reach is an annual NZDF Readiness Training Activity which develops the crew’s proficiency to conduct day and night tactical missions such as would be required to operate in austere environments when required by the New Zealand Government.”
Before commencement of Exercise Nocturnal Reach, U.S. Ambassador Tom Udall visited RNZAF Base Auckland, to welcome U.S. Forces and thank NZDF for hosting their visit to New Zealand.