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New Zealand forces deploy abroad in multinational air combat exercise

07-27-2012 14:37 BJT

WELLINGTON, July 27 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand military forces will be testing their ability to deploy abroad and in coordination with other nations when they take part in a multinational air combat exercise in the north of Australia over the next three weeks.

Personnel from the Royal New Zealand Air Force's No. 209 ( Expeditionary Support) Squadron were to leave for Darwin Saturday to participate in the Pitch Black 12 exercise, said a statement from the New Zealand Defence Force Friday.

The field training exercise (FTX) would also involve the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the Australian Army, and forces from the United States, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

"Pitch Black 12 will be the largest FTX for 2012, and will involve a combination of day and night flying from RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal," Squadron Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Darryl Cockroft, in the statement.

"The exercise provides our people with exposure to the planning and conduct of air operations within a large scale coalition environment. It enables us to practice deployed operations in a medium to high level threat environment, and for ground support personnel to develop and enhance the skills necessary for carrying out operations away from New Zealand."

New Zealand Army regular and reserve forces would also take part.

"We are looking forward to the opportunity to exchange information on air and ground training procedures and equipment with the other foreign force participants, and further develop interoperability with them in an air-focused FTX setting," said Cockroft.

The New Zealand forces would return on Aug. 18.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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