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NZDF PR: RNZAF Successfully Drops In On South Island

By New Zealand Defence Force

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) has successfully completed a nearly two-week exercise of tactical flying around the top of the South Island, practising dropping loads of equipment and supplies in remote locations.

RNZAF No.40 Squadron C-130 Hercules aircraft being loaded at RNZAF Base Woodbourne (Blenheim, NZ).  Photo © Royal New Zealand Air Force - Supplied

No. 40 Squadron, normally based in Auckland, and support units, including those from the NZ Army, have been based at RNZAF Base Woodbourne near Blenheim since last week.

"The annual training activity is designed to maintain currency in low-level flying, tactical flying and airdrop capability,” said pilot, Flight Lieutenant Michal-Louise Paget.

"These skills are crucial when responding to a range of challenging situations such as resupply, humanitarian aid and disaster relief or search and rescue operations,” she said.

RNZAF No.40 Squadron pilot Flight Lieutenant Michal-louise Paget guides her C-130 Hercules through the South Island landscape.   Photo © Royal New Zealand Air Force - Supplied

It helps prepare No. 40 Squadron for deployments to the likes of Antarctica, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific.

"The nature of military operations and the environments in which they are conducted means high-quality training activities are essential for our personnel,” Flight Lieutenant Paget said

The Hercules flew as far south as Canterbury and as far north as Manawatū, with the crew coordinating pallet drops of heavy equipment and container delivery bundles to drop zones at RNZAF Base Ohakea and around Marlborough.

A load being dropped from the back of the C-130 Hercules.   Photo © Royal New Zealand Air Force - Supplied

The exercise provided crews with a range of demanding flying and navigating conditions, including over unfamiliar, mountainous and challenging terrain in a variety of weather conditions.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force display a C -130 Hercules at a local airshow in the early 2000's, demonstrating their low level flight skills. Watch to the end of the video for the best bit!

Support on the ground also came from RNZAF No.3 Squadron and New Zealand Army units from 1 (New Zealand) Brigade, 2nd Combat Service Support Battalion, including 5 Movements Company and 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion.

Flight Lieutenant Paget said the exercise had proved successful in achieving a number of training goals.

Once it's on the ground, New Zealand Army soldiers deal with a load dropped by the Air Force.   Photo © Royal New Zealand Air Force - Supplied

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