Kiwis fight Aussies in Defence Force exercise

Ex Hamil 2010
NZ Army Light Operational Vehicles (LOVs) at Exercise Hamil (OH 10-0657-537)

3 November 2010

More than 300 New Zealand Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) personnel are making their way back home, after taking part in one of the most complex training activities the Australian Army has ever organised. 

Exercise Hamel was designed to test the war fighting skills of the Townsville-based 3rd Brigade, and to do this they invited the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to make up the opposing force utilizing the Kiwi’s Iroquois helicopters, Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV), Light Operational Vehicles (LOV) and Unimogs.

HMNZS CANTERBURY transported the Army vehicles to and from Australia for the exercise.

Major Dougal Barker, OC Victor Company, said that although the Kiwis as the opposing force worked hard to test the Australians, they also achieved their own training objectives and improved knowledge of and interoperability with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“By operating in an unfamiliar place such as the Townsville Field Training Area we’ve been forced to use core navigation skills, rather than just work from memory. The Air Force has been undertaking flying in tropical conditions, which affects the performance of the Iroquois.The terrain has also played a major role, providing a difficult operating environment that is, in many ways, half way between our open (such as Waiouru) and closed (bush/jungle) environments and offering a number of problems and opportunities within that.”

Improving interoperability with the Australian Defence Force is important as both nations currently work together in the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste and Afghanistan, and will also work together in any regional response that may be required in the event of contingencies such as natural disasters, as has already happened in Fiji and Samoa this year. 

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Air Vice Marshal Peter Stockwell, says that knowing the way that each Defence Force works is critical to ensuring a successful regional emergency response, and in this regard the exercise has been very valuable for everyone who participated.

“We are building on our ANZAC history and striving to reach a new level of co-operation between the NZDF and ADF.  The ability for both Defence Forces to work closely and effectively together is vital and will benefit our region in times of need.”


For further information contact Nicole Munro, Defence Communications Group, 021 569 148


This page was last reviewed on 17 January 2011.