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Friendly Forces Descend on Westport for Exercise Southern Katipo

An RNZAF C-130 departs after transporting troops and equipment to Westport

2 November 2015

Personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force and eight partner countries have begun descending on Westport, New Zealand, in support of Exercise Southern Katipo 2015.

C-130 Hercules aircraft from Australia and New Zealand, and US Air Force C-17s have been utilised to transport troops and equipment as the exercise rapidly builds in Westport. Meanwhile, land forces have also begun arriving by road, in an exercise which will see numbers swell rapidly over the next couple of days to over 2000 personnel.

Exercise Southern Katipo (SK15) is the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) major military exercise and occurs every two years. Personnel from New Zealand and eight other countries - Australia, Canada, Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and the United States will participate in the month-long international exercise in the Buller, Tasman and Marlborough regions of the South Island.

The exercise aims to test and evaluate the NZDF’s ability to plan and conduct joint operations involving a range of naval, land and air assets from various nations.

“Unlike previous iterations of this exercise, we are treating SK15 as one of several operations that we manage and supervise,” said Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, Commander Joint Forces New Zealand. “This approach is more realistic because if an emergency arose in the South West Pacific now, that will be exactly how things will play out.”

The exercise involves a scenario that requires the NZDF deploying a military contingent to lead a multinational Combined Joint Task Force that will help restore law and order in a fictional South West Pacific country called Becara. The multinational task force will conduct stability, support and humanitarian operations, including the evacuation of internally displaced people during the exercise.
 
“In SK15, we will be dealing with challenges that commanders have to grapple with in real-world operations such as exercising command and control over units that are operating in remote areas,” said MAJGEN Gall.
 
“Our personnel are well-trained and ready to respond to any crisis at home or overseas. And through exercises like SK15, we get the chance to further enhance our ability to operate effectively alongside other militaries."

ENDS

For more information please contact Public Affairs Officer SQNLDR Lyn Coromandel on 021 420 899
 

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