PNG-NZ army exercise underway

National, Normal

The National, Friday 31st May 2013


THE first joint military exercise between the New Zealand and PNG defence forces is underway in Lae, Morobe.

The 10-day exercise which began on Tuesday involves 88 PNGDF personnel and a New Zealand special forces team of 62 soldiers.

Called Operation Tropic Wing, the exercise also includes members of the Port Moresby-based long range reconnaissance unit, two PNGDF naval vessels, small amphibious crafts, Iroquois helicopters and a New Zealand Hercules aircraft.

Lae area military commander Colonel Peter Aimos said the exercise included troop movements by foot, low-level flying activities by the Hercules and parachute drops.

While most activities will involve the use of blank ammunition rounds, there will also be a four-day live fire exercise within a 5km radius northeast of Igam barracks starting today.

Aimos said all participants would be wearing PNG and New Zealand camouflaged uniforms and carrying combat equipment, smoke generators and thunder flashes. 

Tropic Wing will also be conducted in the wider Lae area including Huon Gulf, Lae Port and Voco Point, Narasora, Malahang, Situm, Nadzab, Markham Bridge and Busu River areas. 

Aimos said all land clearances and requests for the use of property were negotiated with the respective authorities and owners of the land within the exercise zone