Exercise Confirms NH90s’ Readiness To Deploy Overseas

NH90 Pilot Squadron Leader Phillip  Wilson and a crewmember from RNZAF's 3 Squadron conduct final checks before  the NH90 disembarked from HMNZS CANTERBURY
NH90 Pilot Squadron Leader Phillip  Wilson and a crewmember from RNZAF's 3 Squadron conduct final checks before  the NH90 disembarked from HMNZS CANTERBURY

8 August 2015

The Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) NH90 helicopters have recently confirmed their readiness to deploy on operations in the Southwest Pacific after taking part in Australia’s largest warfighting exercise.

Amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS CANTERBURY returned to Wellington today from Exercise Talisman Sabre carrying two of the RNZAF’s NH90s as well as around 60 military personnel and 45 military vehicles.

“Exercise Talisman Sabre marked the first time the NH90s were taken offshore and provided a fresh opportunity to show their capability to perform a wide range of tasks,” says Acting Air Component Commander Group Captain Tim Walshe.

The New Zealand Defence Force deployed two ships, two other aircraft, 620 personnel and 45 military vehicles including 22 Light Armoured Vehicles for the biennial exercise in July.

The two NH90s formed part of ‘Battle Group Griffin’, which also comprised six Australian MRH-90 helicopters and eight Tiger attack helicopters and around 600 US troops who served as the ground force. 

The NH90s conducted assaults with up to eight aircraft in coordinated formation during the exercise. Other tasks required the helicopters to be airborne at very short notice to support troops on the ground.

“The operations that the helicopters conducted with the Australian Defence Force confirmed their ability to support battlefield manoeuvres and their readiness to be deployed on operations throughout the Southwest Pacific,” says GPCAPT Walshe.

“A successful deployment not only means transporting the aircraft to the area of operations but also ensuring that the logistic support requirements are able to sustain an operation for an extended period of time. We achieved this on the NH90s’ first overseas deployment,” he added.

Since they were introduced into the RNZAF in 2013, the NH90s have been used for search and rescue missions, transport for military and government personnel, lifting of equipment while also maintaining a counter-terrorism response.

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This page was last reviewed on 9 August 2015.