Akaroa Harbour, in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand, formed a training ground on 6 November for a rehearsal of amphibious landings taking place within Exercise Southern Katipo 2013 that started two days ago.
Around 200 battle-ready troops and 280 tonnes of equipment and vehicles embarked in HMNZS CANTERBURY in Wellington on November 1 in the first stage of the largest amphibious exercise conducted by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
“Exercise Southern Katipo 2013 aims to test the capability of the NZDF to mount a medium-scale amphibious operation that involves maritime, land and air assets,” said Royal New Zealand Captain Jim Gilmour, Commander Amphibious Task Force for the exercise.
“It will also enable us to demonstrate our ability to operate effectively with our coalition partners,” he added.
The NZDF deployed two ships (HMNZS CANTERBURY and HMNZS WELLINGTON) and up to 12 aircraft for the exercise, which involves up to 2200 personnel from New Zealand and nine other nations. The exercise will be held from 4-29 November, with the primary area of operations centred on the airport and port of Timaru.
On Monday, 43 Army drivers experienced driving their vehicles over the Stern Ramp and onto the LCMs while anchored in Akaroa Harbour. Also aboard were the Amphibious Beach Team, and the MATBRO vehicle that carries the beach mat that is laid onto the beach to allow the vehicles to get ashore more easily.
“Exercises such as this help the NZDF prepare for a variety of contingencies and ensure that New Zealand can play its part with other nations to assist our Pacific neighbours, should the need arise,” said NZ Army Lieutenant Colonel Bill Keelan, Commander Land Forces for the joint exercise.
The exercise’s training scenario is set in a fictional South West Pacific country – Mainlandia – which requires intervention from the ‘League of Pacific Nations’ to restore law and order.
Press Release, November 7, 2013; Image: NZDF