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P3K Orion Upgrade




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Blast From the Past


























Chairman’s Message to 2018 AGM

Minutes AGM 2018

NZDF Inspects 23 Vessels in Multi-National Patrols

The New Zealand Defence Force inspected 23 foreign-flagged fishing vessels on the high seas as part of joint maritime patrols it conducted recently with three other countries.

The New Zealand Defence Force inspected 23 foreign-flagged fishing vessels on the high seas as part of joint maritime patrols it conducted recently with three other countries.

Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said offshore patrol vessel HMNZS Otago and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft supported the maritime surveillance operation with the three other member-countries of the Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group (QUAD) – Australia, France and the United States.


No. 5 Squadron crew and No. 6 Squadron Seasprite SH-2G(I) maintainers have returned home after participating in the largest international maritime military exercise. The month-long biennial Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac) exercise hosted 25,000 personnel from 26 nations, including 300 NZDF personnel. It was an excellent opportunity to work with allies with multiple assets and take a close up look at the P-8A Poseidon, set to join our fleet in the coming years. Two P-3K2 Orions, an SH-2G(I) Seasprite, a warship and more than 300 personnel took part in the massive exercise. Twenty-six nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 national land forces, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in the event that was based around Hawaii and southern California. Rimpac 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series and is hosted by the United States Navy. Joint Forces New Zealand Commander Major General Tim Gall said it provided a unique training opportunity that helped foster and sustain the cooperative relationships with allies and partners.
“This is critical to ensure the freedom of the seas and security on the world’s oceans.” The P-3K2 Orions conducted up to nine missions and engaged in a combination of warfare scenarios, hunting and tracking submarines and working with the maritime patrol community. No. 5 Squadron Commanding Officer Wing Commander AJ Young was the Detachment Commander for the exercise. “The exercise was the first chance the squadron had to test ourselves against some very good opponents with the new Under Water Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaisance (UWISR) capability. The results achieved by both crews were extremely satisfying to say the least. “Our future P-8A aircraft will be fitted with a similar capability, so we are already gaining valuable capability experience in advance of the new aircraft’s arrival.” The squadron was able to “grow its capability” during the exercise, he said. “I have taken huge satisfaction from seeing three personnel achieve crew executive upgrades during the exercise. It is a testament to not only individual commitment; but the collective commitment over the last few months of many senior, experienced personnel back home. 

In addition, we maximised the opportunities to grow crew experience in the use of the UWISR capability.” Flight Lieutenant Simon McKay used the exercise as an opportunity to upgrade from co-pilot to Captain. “It was the first time I have ever taken an aircraft out as Captain. The flight involved a submarine threat to our friendly forces and we had to be able to provide deterrence – it was very cool.”  The exercise provided a chance to work with multiple assets, he said. Aircraft technician Sergeant (SGT) Mike West’s role in exercise was to carry out and supervise maintenance on the Orions. “Rimpac participation provides No. 5 Squadron Maintenance Flight the opportunity to carry out aircraft maintenance in an unfamiliar environment and still achieve our outputs,” he said. “We are the team responsible for ensuring that there is always a serviceable aircraft ready for the crew to fly and, as experienced during this exercise, we will work tirelessly until we achieve that goal.” SGT West said it was amazing being part of such a large exercise with so many moving parts.

“To be out on the flightline working on our aircraft while the sky is filled with the sights and sounds of fast jets screaming past at low level, helicopters transporting artillery guns underslung and fixed wing aircraft heading back from a patrol, all at the same time and all working toward an overall common goal epitomised joint operations and was truly spectacular.” The first RIMPAC, held in 1971, involved navies from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The RNZN was involved frequently until the ANZUS nuclear ship dispute in the 1980s. In 2010 the NZDF attended in an observer role, and was a full participant in 2012, 2014 and 2016. 

5 Squadron RNZAF Trophy presentation to Cpl Alex McLean at the 20th AGM June 2018.


 Photos of the Laucala Bay Monument Event 2018


Laucala Bay Monument

Note the symbolism that the artist, Shane Bower from Savusavu, has created with the wings of a giant seabird (albatross) mounted above the representative fuselage - the lower half of which is a Sunderland wing float. more



Middle East Surveillence


RNZAF Orion and Crew Busy on Multiple Fronts in South West Pacific

The Orion has been sent to deliver mail to Raoul Island, survey signs of activity from an underwater volcano, and conduct maritime surveillance patrols in support of Pacific Island nations. The crew will also brief officials in Niue about the NZDF’s maritime surveillance and search and rescue operations in the region.

“This is a perfect example of the range of tasks we do in support of other New Zealand government agencies, as well as our South West Pacific neighbours,” Group Captain Shaun Sexton, the Acting Air Component Commander, said.

“The other driver, of course, is efficiency. Whenever we send an aircraft to do a job, it usually has three to four other tasks to complete. That way we get a lot more done from a single mission.”

Squadron Leader Jimmy Peters, the aircraft captain, said the first item on the Orion’s to-do list was to air-drop about 130 kilograms of mail for Department of Conservation staff based in the remote Kermadec Islands.

The aircraft will also survey Monowai, an active underwater volcano halfway between Tonga and the Kermadecs, for GNS Science.

On Friday (NZT), a 17-member team led by Squadron Leader Peters will brief officials from several Niue government agencies, including the Niue Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Niue Police, about the NZDF’s maritime surveillance and search and rescue capabilities. They will also give Niue officials a quick tour of the Orion.

Squadron Leader Peters said he expected “mutually beneficial discussions” with Niue officials following the briefing.

“It’s good to have these face-to-face engagements where we can chat about how we conduct search and rescue and maritime patrols and also gain an understanding of their expectations,” he said.

“This is essential, so we can wrk together smoothly if and when required in the future.”

The NZDF regularly sends aircraft and ships to conduct maritime surveillance patrols in support of South West Pacific countries. In 2017, RNZAF planes flew 114 hours on nine search and rescue missions in the Pacific.



75th Anniversary 1941-2016

MOTAT and Whenuapai events photo collection



A Blast From the Past

Here is a series of links kindly provided by Robin Klitscher. These links are pieces written
by Robin K which will be of interest to members, particularly the web-footers.

Recently digitised footage of Laucala bay

Sunderland Veterans Rolling Back The years

Facebook Slideshow  

With thanks from Wings Over New Zealand

5 Squadron RNZAF Association Trophy Recipients

The award includes a printed copy of the citation and an inscribed plaque to be retained by the recipient. 

K i w i  O r i o n s     




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