The NZDF Amphibious Task Force conducts the first iteration of Exercise Joint Waka in the Canterbury area earlier this year.
July 22, 2016 - The NZ Defence Force has continued the Exercise Joint Waka series of Amphibious Task Force (ATF) training this week with a tabletop exercise at the Devonport Naval Base based on a simulated stability and support operational situation.
The ATF is an integrated Navy, Army and Air Force team that brings together single Service assets and expertise in a joint effort that can move personnel, humanitarian aid supplies and vehicles from ship to shore where there is no port or airfield available, or where disaster or the security situation has rendered a port or airfield unusable.
This second exercise in the Joint Waka series uses a fictional situation requiring a military and diplomatic coalition response in the south-west Pacific, with ATF personnel having to determine how they would respond to the crisis when the port and airfield are unusable. This scenario involves the ATF conducting a complex landing across a beach so that land forces, with helicopter support, can secure the port and airfield for follow-on forces.
With the Defence Force regularly called upon to assist in disaster relief or humanitarian assistance efforts in the Pacific, exercise director Lieutenant Colonel Martin Dransfield says it is crucial that personnel have the right doctrine, training, tactics and procedures in place, and experience with the appropriate equipment.
“Every ship-to-shore movement is different and is influenced by the tides, the weather, the gradient of the beach, and the supplies and equipment that need to be moved. The ATF requires a high level of training to be able to operate in any situation. They’ve been put to the test during our recent responses to Tropical Cyclones Winston and Pam and they will continue to be tested, both in exercises and during operational deployments, to ensure we’re able to assist our Pacific neighbours when called upon.”Exercise Joint Waka has three iterations for 2016, following on from the training opportunities identified for the ATF during Exercise Southern Katipo 2015. The final exercise for the year will be a field training exercise involving HMNZS Canterbury. Exercise Southern Katipo 2017 will further test the NZDF’s amphibious capability.