Air Force and Navy Maritime War-fighting Ethos Remains Strong
An RNZAF Orion maritime patrol aircraft from No. 5 SQN banks hard during a patrol.
For the past two weeks, NZDF Maritime patrol assets including Air Force P-3K Orion's, Navy SH-2G Seasprite helicopters and Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) HMNZS Rotoiti and Hawea have been conducting warfare training off the east coast of the North Island as part of a Joint Air Force/Navy maritime exercise named "Exercise Tungsten 3".
Held bi-annually, Exercise Tungsten is aimed at conducting individual and collective warfare training for the maritime fleet. It involves multi-aircraft co-operation between the Orion aircraft of No 5 SQN and the Seasprite helicopters of No 6 SQN. Various scenarios provide the crews the opportunity to exercise combined operational and tactical procedures in a safe environment. The added dimension of having two Navy IPV's as part of the exercise allowed for a wider scope of scenarios including anti-surface warfare, IPV interaction, winching drills and support to ship boarding parties.
No 5 SQN’s Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Nick Olney said "Developing and maintaining a warfighting ethos is challenging at the best of times, but exercises like Tungsten 3 sets the scene and allows our air crews to work together with our sister service in developing core skills that we can then utilise in other areas of our business. Working with other NZDF assets including helicopters and ships has enabled us to learn and grow from each other and based on the combined feedback we've all gained a great deal".
Flight Lieutenant Joe Tasker has been one of the exercise planners responsible for getting Tungsten 3 off the ground. "Today marks the conclusion of Exercise Tungsten 3. Overall the exercise has run smoothly and the various scenarios have allowed us to test and adjust our procedures, identify any weaknesses and look at how we can improve the way we do business. It also allows junior crew members the opportunity to hone their warfighting skills which are vital for surface warfare missions and surveillance operations" he said.
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