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Blast From the Past


























Chairman’s Message to 2018 AGM

Minutes AGM 2018

The detachment supporting the United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions again North Korea has finished its mission. The deployment involved a P-3K2 Orion and 44 personnel based at the United States Air Force Base, Kadena, in Okinawa, Japan, plus two NZDF personnel at the supported headquarters in Tokyo. They completed nine  operational sorties during the mission that lasted just over a month. Detachment Commander Wing Commander (WGCDR) Danny Lazet said they were looking for receiver vessels and supply vessels, illegally transferring petroleum or coal. "The mission was essentially looking for a specific piece of hay in a haystack," he said. "There’re thousands and thousands of boats and most of the vessels we are looking for look like ordinary merchant vessels. It’s very hard work and at night it’s even harder, but our sensors help us find specific features on the boats." Despite the challenge of the deployment, the team was successful in finding some of those vessels, WGCDR Lazet said. Our mission was to deter this illegal activity and the mere presence of the Orion helped in that goal. "But if we did see illegal activity, we would take photos that would be used as evidence against North Korea." The evidence would be provided to the United Nations and also used to take legal actions against ships involved, such as deregistering them. Despite the low public profile of the operation, the postmission briefs produced by the mission support team were of the usual excellent standard and were used to brief senior officers and officials in both New  Zealand and other contributing nations, WGCDR Lazet said.

The deployment did meet a number of challenges, including two typhoons to hit Okinawa. "Both times we had to fly the aircraft to Yokota Air Force Base in Tokyo to protect it, because we couldn’t put it in a hangar. The first typhoon went up through Japan towards Tokyo and so we had to fly to Guam to avoid it – we were chasing our tails to get out of the way," he said. They also encountered fishing boats that pointed commercial-strength lasers at the aircraft to keep it away from the area to stop it from scaring the fish away. "Even though it might not be malicious, they could still do damage to eyes. We were able to use laser-protection glasses to help mitigate that. That was one of the many curveballs that came our way." The maintenance team had their work cut out for them late in the deployment fixing a technical issue in less than ideal conditions. "They got it fixed in conditions that weren’t the best for them because we didn’t have a hangar to put the aircraft in. But they did a great job." It was a demanding mission in a "busy and dynamic" environment, WGCDR Lazet said. "The crew who went up had recent experience in the Middle East and that really paid dividends because that’s a really busy part of the world too." The enforcement of UN sanctions is vital if they are to achieve their purpose of encouraging North Korea to pursue denuclearisation, and this is an important activity by the government, he said. "The Air Force is proud to be able to support the Government in these efforts through this highly valued operational deployment."

High explosives detonating on a remote North Island beach aren’t a common sight in New Zealand, but recently a week-long exercise saw more than a dozen bombs land at the Kaipara Air Weapons Range. Standing at a safe distance, Air Force News went along to experience the power of the high explosives. There’s something a bit primal about watching a P-3K2 Orion fly in overhead, drop a bomb on target, see the sand explode in an eruption of fire and smoke, then wait… wait… wait… and finally the sound of the boom hits at the same time as the energy released. It’s raw and powerful for a bystander, but the exercise’s main aim is to ensure our personnel remain proficient in antisurface and anti-submarine warfare. During the training 14 bombs, each weighing 500lbs, were dropped onto the range from a P-3K2 Orion. They had earlier been prepared and loaded onto the aircraft by Air Force armourers at Base Ohakea. Crews from No. 5 Squadron, armourers, maintainers and explosive ordnance personnel were also involved in the exercise. No. 5 Squadron Operations Flight Commander Squadron Leader Mark Chadwick said the training was the culmination of our combat capability. “It’s for air and ground crews to gain currency and proficiency in preparing, loading and deploying the weapons from the aircraft. The bombs are dropped from either the aircraft bomb bay or the wings, normally from between 500-1000ft over the range. “They’re designed to arm and detonate on impact with the ground.”
The training also helped the explosive ordnance personnel who are there to explode any bombs that do not detonate. “Every training we have, there are a small percentage of weapons that don’t explode. We’ve got contingency procedures for that where we get personnel in there, find the weapon and dispose of it appropriately.” The exercise was another reason there was a 24/7 public ban from the range, Squadron Leader Chadwick said. “The explosions are quite significant.” No. 5 Squadron Air Ordnance Specialist Sergeant Richard Vial said to maintain capability, there needed to be a “familiarity” with the weapons and operating with them and around them. “So we need to know who to talk with to make that happen and getting the armourers involved. It’s great for the younger guys to get to know people from other units in the Air Force too. “The whole process keeps everyone familiar, so if it’s ever needed, we can execute skillfully.” The exercise overall was deemed a success, he said. “We met all the training objectives we were looking to get out of it. It’s always interesting to see it for the first time and having the sound and the shock wave hit about eight seconds after the bomb lands.” 
Aircraft captain and Qualified Flying Instructor Squadron Leader Rod Olliff said the exercise also demonstrated to other countries that New Zealand had the capability to drop high explosive bombs from a fixed wing platform. “But the physical act of dropping the bombs is a very small part of an extensive process involving input from plans, logistics, operations, armourers and maintenance personnel. This exercise also helps to develop our organisation’s war fighting 

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



Space Age Hazard 

Middle East Surveillence





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. 




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West Auckland local streaming music you will enjoy  Courtsey Doug Edgar