NZDF Trials Beach Landing Equipment in Fiji
Operation Mahi Tahi has just concluded in Fiji. The operation, which involved military sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury, trained personnel for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support in the Pacific, practicing air, sea, and amphibious training scenarios.
At Lomolomo Beach on Viti Levu, Canterbury’s landing craft first unloaded a Beach Preparation Extraction Vehicle (BPEV), which can be used to help prepare the beach by clearing any debris such as logs or boulders, smoothing it out for other vehicles to land ashore.
It can be fitted with a Push Plate that can be used to force the landing craft off the shoreline if it were to get stuck there, and it also has a rear winch for land vehicle recovery, said Lieutenant Wilkie, Amphibious Beach Team Commander from NZ Army 5th Movements Company of the New Zealand Army.
From the landing craft the team can also operate a converted 20-tonne CAT938K loader, which can roll out a temporary trackway over soft sand, allowing light vehicles like the Pinzgauer truck or non-4WD vehicles to go ashore without getting stuck.
“Operation Mahi Tahi is about making sure that we are ready to assist in the Pacific if we need to respond to a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief situation,” Lieutenant Wilkie said.
“Having this opportunity to deploy on the Canterbury to Fiji, has been a great chance for us to build up experience within the team and test the capability.
“We haven’t practised this type of amphibious landing for a while and this is the first time we’ve used both the BPEV and CAT938K overseas so it’s really great to see it deployed here at Lomolomo Beach.”