July 1, 2019 (released July 10, 2019) – More than 600 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel, 27 New Zealand Army light armoured vehicles, three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and Royal New Zealand Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury are on their way to Australia for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.
This is the third time New Zealand has been invited to take part in the exercise, which is a bilateral, Australian-hosted and United States-supported combined exercise that is held every two years to improve combat readiness, exercise war fighting skills and systems and interoperability.
More than 30,000 participants will take part, including personnel from Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan.
Commander Joint Forces Rear Admiral James Gilmour said the exercise provided an essential training opportunity for the NZDF to test its people, capabilities, skills and focus around combat scenarios, while working alongside some of its closest military partners.
“Being invited to participate in this exercise shows that New Zealand has a place at the table when it comes to providing war-fighting expertise and support in an international environment,” Rear Admiral Gilmour said.
“This exercise allows our Navy, Army and Air Force the opportunity to work alongside our allies and partners, focusing on our interoperability on the sea, land and in the air and testing real-world scenarios. It is the perfect opportunity for us to integrate as both a joint force and in a coalition-like environment.”
“To ensure we are able to protect New Zealand’s interests, we must guarantee the NZDF’s effectiveness in a war-fighting environment. We are engaged in operations around the world, as well as working with our neighbours in the South West Pacific.”
HMNZS Canterbury will transport most of the NZDF contingent and machinery.