1-Aug-2013 Source: RNZAF
Three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters were put through their paces as part of an intensive flying training programme around Waiouru this week.
“The exercise was to test our ability to deploy in a more austere environment, away from the comfort of home base at Ohakea,” said SQNLDR Chris Andrew, Commanding Officer for the exercise, based at Waiouru Military Camp.
“It’s an opportunity to train and test the aircraft and crew skills in a relatively controlled environment, undertake some intensive flying, and work closely with the NZ Army.”
Around 90 Air Force personnel and 30 Army personnel from the Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles took part in the exercise. It was the first time that the NH90 had carried fully equipped NZ Army troops (with packs and weapons).
It was also the first time formation, low level flying had been undertaken away from Ohakea, which is a significant milestone in the training and testing of the aircraft and crew.
The focus was on completing Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) tasks as part of developing the full range of NH90 capabilities, some of which have already been released into service.
Two A109 Light Utility Helicopters were also deployed to Waiouru and trained alongside the NH90s as part of its OT&E for introduction into service.
Both helicopters will be used for tasks in support of the military and other Government agencies.