The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has started preparations for the first time participation in the upcoming military exercise, Talisman Sabre 2015, in Australia and the US.
Two NH90 helicopters, along with 45 military vehicles, including 22 light armoured vehicles were loaded onboard HMNZS Canterbury in the Wellington harbour, for deployment to Australia.
Apart from this, New Zealand is also sending approximately 620 personnel and two naval vessels to participate in the biennial exercise, which brings together 30,000 soldiers from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and all four services of the US Armed Forces.
Talisman Sabre is scheduled to be held from 5 to 21 July. It will focus on crisis action planning and humanitarian missions to help augment participating nations’ capabilities to deal with regional contingencies and terrorism.
New Zealand Joint Forces commander major general Tim Gall said the exercise offers an opportunity to train with Australia and the US, so that the country can improve ability to operate effectively alongside them.
Gall said: "We will be operating in a uniquely complex and challenging multinational environment where our people can further hone their warfighting capabilities and their ability to respond to a wide variety of contingencies.
"From a strategic perspective, we can use key learnings from the exercise to inform our efforts to develop the Joint Task Force which can deploy, operate and sustain combat forces away from New Zealand."
The exercise comprises training in land, air and maritime warfare, including amphibious operations. It will also feature 21 ships including the US Navy aircraft carrier, USS George Washington, more than 200 aircraft and three submarines.
As well as Australia, New Zealand, and the US, around 40 personnel from the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) are also set to participate in the exercise.
Prior to this iteration, a total of five Talisman Sabre exercises were in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.
Image: Two NZDF NH90 helicopters stationed onboard HMNZS Canterbury in the Wellington harbour. Photo: courtesy of New Zealand Defence Force.