Support to Ukraine
Below is information on the New Zealand Defence Force's support to Ukraine's defence against Russia's invasion. The latest information is at the top.
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- Find out more about the C-130H(NZ) Hercules aircraft
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18 November, 11:08am: Defence Minister meets with UK counterpart and visits NZ Army personnel
Minister of Defence Hon Peeni Henare and his United Kingdom counterpart Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace have visited NZ Army personnel delivering training to Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) soldiers.
Based at a training area in the UK, 120 NZ Army personnel are delivering infantry training to help prepare AFU soldiers for the battlefield.
The training is broken down into a basic introduction to soldiering, tactical exercises, range practices and live field firing.
Minister Henare and Secretary Wallace were welcomed to the training site with a powhiri. They heard from members of the NZDF, British Armed Forces and Armed Forces of Ukraine soldiers, observing core elements of the training.
“I am proud of the contribution our people are making to support Ukraine in their time of need, and have seen first-hand the positive impact the training is having on members of the Ukrainian armed forces.” -- Hon Peeni Henare
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14 November, 4:46pm: Further NZDF support to Ukraine confirmed
New Zealand Defence Force deployments to the United Kingdom and Europe in support of Ukraine’s self-defence will continue into 2023.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said that with the extensions announced today by the Government, NZDF personnel would continue to play their part in international efforts to support Ukraine’s self-defence against Russia’s invasion.
“The professionalism, dedication and commitment of our personnel has been recognised by our partners, and they’ll continue to work with purpose to have an impact on Ukraine’s ability to defend itself.”
- An infantry training team of up to 66 NZDF personnel to conduct training of Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers, in the UK, with the deployment due to be completed by 31 July, 2023.
- The deployment of up to 12 NZDF intelligence personnel in the UK, as well as the NZDF’s New Zealand-based open source intelligence staff, will be extended through to 30 June, 2023, and there will be two additional support positions in the UK.
- Up to eight additional NZDF personnel will be deployed to command and support the NZDF personnel based in Europe supporting Ukraine’s self-defence.
- Logistics support will recommence with the deployment of four personnel to a logistics hub in Europe, until 30 June, 2023.
- The deployment of NZDF personnel in liaison officer roles will also be extended through to 30 June, 2023.
There are currently 135 NZDF personnel deployed to the UK and Europe in support of Ukraine’s self-defence.
This includes 120 NZ Army personnel delivering training as part of the training of Ukrainian recruits.
They are split into two training teams: Kiwi Team 1 made up of personnel from 1 Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) based in Linton, and Kiwi Team 2 of Burnham-based 2/1 RNZIR personnel.
They are delivering a five-week Infantry Basic Combat Course designed to increase survivability and lethality on the battlefield.
The training is broken down into a basic introduction to soldiering, tactical exercises, range practices and live field firing. It covers weapon handling, combat first aid, operational law, field-craft, offensive and defensive operations, and marksmanship.
The NZDF training teams are in their second rotation of training. The first group of more than 320 recruits trained by the New Zealanders have returned to Ukraine to defend their country.
A second group, also of more than 320 recruits, are part way through their training in the UK with the Kiwi teams.
Once they have completed their course, the Ukrainian soldiers either continue with specialised training in other roles with some likely to deploy on the battlefield.
Major Tom Kelly, the Senior National Officer of the NZ Army training teams in the UK, said they felt a deep sense of purpose and responsibility for the Armed Forces of Ukraine recruits, and were working tirelessly to deliver the training and prepare the Ukrainians for the fight that lay ahead.
“The New Zealand training teams have integrated seamlessly with the Ukrainian training audiences, the recruits having responded very well to the New Zealand soldiers and officers instructing them. The humility, dedication and professionalism our soldiers and officers display is being noticed and is having an impact on the battlefield.”
The two infantry training teams will return to New Zealand in December. The main body of the third infantry training team will deploy in January, commencing training soon after arrival in the UK.
NZDF deployments in support of Ukraine have included a C-130 Hercules and air detachment, intelligence staff, liaison officers, logistics support to cohere and coordinate distribution of military aid, plus an artillery training team and the two infantry training teams instructing Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel.
4 October, 5:05pm: NZ soldiers train Ukrainian battlefield recruits
Move, shoot, communicate and medicate is an adage that resonates with most members of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, but for members of Op Tīeke it now has the added focus of survivability and lethality.
Two NZ Army teams have commenced delivery of training to Ukrainian battlefield recruits, working alongside the British Armed Forces. The training is taking place in the United Kingdom. The training consists of an intense and high tempo five-week training programme which maximises the amount of time in the day to deliver training in weapon handling, field-craft, medical treatment, offensive and defensive operations, and marksmanship.
The key focus for Kiwi Team 2, from 2/1 RNZIR, has been on gearing all learning outcomes towards supporting the two main lines of effort from the training - enhancing the Ukrainian soldiers’ lethality or providing the skills to increase their survivability.
The Kiwi Team 2 Company 2IC, Captain Jordan Corke, said the team got underway shortly on arrival in the UK.
“We have hit the ground running and are well underway in the delivery of our first course. So far, we have delivered training on weapon handing, medical training, Law of Armed Conflict, and conducted two field exercises focusing on section offensive operations and field-craft.”
The training is having a positive impact for both the Ukrainian trainees, British peers and our Kiwi soldiers.
Major Josh Sullivan, Officer Commanding Kiwi Team 2 said: “Op Tīeke has been a positive opportunity for us and directly ties to the regeneration of our combat corps skills sets and junior leadership. Our soldiers are displaying innovation and dedication in their lesson preparation and delivery because they understand how important this training is for our training audience and they know there is no chance for further rehearsals at the completion of the course. Incorporating battlefield inoculation in our training serials has become massively important, and the team are leading the way in enhancing this.”
Op Tīeke also provided an opportunity to learn and improve our own system of training and tactics, he said.
“We are trench novices and thought this was a style of warfare that was a thing of the past. This recent conflict has highlighted that’s not the case, and we have lots to learn about how to enhance our own tactics and procedures should we be involved in future conflicts involving this style of warfare,” Major Sullivan said.
30 August, 1:05pm: New Zealand Army personnel deploy to UK to train Ukrainian Recruits
A group of our New Zealand Army personnel has deployed today to the United Kingdom where they will train Ukrainian infantry recruits.
The main contingent departed on a Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing, joining the advance party already stationed in the UK.
Our soldiers will work alongside our partners in the UK to help train Ukrainian recruits to defend themselves against Russian forces.
Two New Zealand Army teams will train the recruits in multiple skillsets including weapons handling, combat first aid, operational law and other core skills to be effective on the battlefield.
The training by our soldiers will get underway in September and continue to the end of November.
15 August, 4:21pm: NZDF to deploy to the UK in further support for Ukraine
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will over the next three weeks begin to deploy up to 120 personnel to the United Kingdom to train Ukrainian infantry recruits.
The deployment, announced by the Government today, extends until 30 November and will see an infantry training contingent, drawn from the New Zealand Army, split into two teams to train approximately 800 Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel.
Chief of Defence Air Marshal Kevin Short said the Cabinet decision follows an invitation from the UK Armed Forces for the NZDF to contribute to the infantry training programme.
“I am very pleased that this deployment has been approved, particularly for the Army, as it provides an opportunity for some of our people to contribute further in a very meaningful way as we respond to a request from a close partner,” Air Marshal Short said.
“Our contribution through earlier efforts have already helped and this decision continues our aid to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s unjustified and illegal invasion.
“The deployment is a good indication of the high regard our partners have for our professionalism as a military force,” he said.
The contingent will travel via civilian flights to the UK in tranches and will begin their work to equip Ukrainian recruits with the core skills to be effective in frontline combat.
The training is based on the UK’s basic soldier course which includes weapon handling, combat first aid, operational law and other soldier skills.
No NZDF personnel will enter Ukraine during the deployment which will be based at locations in the UK.
To read the media release from the Government on this decision, visit beehive.govt.nz here.
28 June, 2.15pm: NZDF personnel extended in roles in support of Ukraine
New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed to the United Kingdom and Europe to support Ukraine in its self-defence against Russia have had their deployments extended, while another six intelligence analysts will also be deployed to the United Kingdom.
The NZDF has deployed personnel in intelligence, liaison, logistics, artillery training, and air transport as part of New Zealand’s support to Ukraine’s self-defence.
Announcements made by the Government on 27 June, include for a further six NZDF intelligence analysts to be deployed to the UK until 30 November.
The roles of six NZDF intelligence analysts in the UK, the use of the New Zealand-based open-source intelligence capability to support partner intelligence requirements, and two liaison officers to Belgium and UK are also being extended until 30 November.
An additional NZDF liaison officer will be deployed to Germany for two months.
The positions of four NZDF logistics specialists deployed to Germany have been extended until 31 August.
NZ Army personnel who were deployed to the UK to train Ukrainian service personnel on the L119 Light Gun have conducted the training and are due to return to New Zealand in July.
The deployment of a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H transport aircraft and personnel concluded this month, with the aircraft arriving back in New Zealand on Sunday 26 June. During its deployment, crew on the Hercules carried out 62 flights transporting 256,000 kg of military aid.
31 May, 2.10pm: NZDF Artillery Team to Train Ukrainians alongside UK
A New Zealand Defence Force Artillery Training Team is in June to start training Ukrainian soldiers in using the 105mm L119 Light Gun.
The training team, of up to 30 personnel, has been deployed for up to two months, and will instruct members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the United Kingdom. NZDF personnel will not be entering Ukraine.
The NZDF is also providing approximately 40 dial sights to Ukraine, along with a small quantity of ammunition for training purposes.
The NZDF training team will be part of a wider UK team instructing in use of the Light Gun.
The NZDF team will be primarily focused on training orientation of the Light Guns and use of dial sites for the weapons system.
The Artillery Training Team joins more than 60 other NZDF personnel deployed to the UK and Europe where they are working with international partners in support of Ukraine’s self-defence.
The Government previously approved the deployment of a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130H Hercules aircraft and NZDF personnel to Europe to provide intelligence, liaison, transportation and logistics support to the international community’s efforts to support Ukraine’s self-defence.
The NZDF’s New Zealand-based open-source intelligence capability has also been used, and military equipment has been donated to Ukraine.
The Hercules and personnel have been continuing to fly missions around Europe transporting donated military aid.
Our deployed personnel include a logistics team based in Germany who are continuing to assist international efforts to cohere and coordinate the movement of donated military aid. They are working to ensure equipment donations are in accordance with Ukraine’s operational priorities, and are coordinating the logistics for donations and matching transport to aid consignments.
12 May, 4.30pm: NZDF's support continues as part of international efforts to deliver aid to Ukraine
New Zealand Defence Force personnel are continuing to assist international efforts to cohere and coordinate the movement of donated military aid to Ukraine.
Recently, personnel from the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and New Zealand Army, who have been deployed to Europe as part of the multinational response to assist Ukraine’s self-defence against Russia, recently assisted with the movement of vital medical supplies.
Almost two tonnes (4380lb) of medical supplies for Ukraine were picked up by an RNZAF C-130 Hercules in Malta.
The three pallets of supplies were being distributed to a centre coordinating aid before being taken into Ukraine to support those in need.
NZDF personnel have integrated with international partner militaries and have been assisting efforts to move donated military aid to Ukraine.
The deployment of the Hercules, air transportation and logistics personnel is in addition to the deployment of other NZDF personnel, including intelligence staff to the United Kingdom.
RNZAF Wing Commander Lisa D’Oliveira, the commander of the Air detachment, said the Air and logistics contingents were working together to ensure missions to transport donated aid were successful.
“It is fantastic that the NZDF is able to provide much needed aid to support the Ukrainian effort,’’ she said.
NZ Army Lieutenant Colonel Vanessa Ropitini, commander of the logistics detachment, said the team had enjoyed coming together and working with others in the multinational effort to support Ukraine.
“It is great to play our part in ensuring important supplies and equipment get to where they need to be,’’ she said.
3 May, 4.00pm: NZDF support to Ukraine’s self-defence underway
New Zealand Defence Force personnel deployed to Europe have quickly integrated with international partner militaries and commenced supporting Ukraine’s self-defence.
NZDF logistics personnel are working within the International Donor Co-ordination Centre (IDCC) in Germany assisting multinational efforts to cohere and coordinate the movement of donated military aid to Ukraine.
The personnel are working as part of the IDCC ensuring equipment donations are in accordance with Ukraine’s operational priorities, coordinating the logistics for donations, and matching transport to aid consignments.
The first Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 Hercules flights transporting military aid between staging centres in Europe occurred last week.
The Hercules is based at the Royal Air Force base at Brize Norton, in the United Kingdom. It flies to centres in Europe to load and transport military equipment consignments to forward staging points from which the equipment is moved into Ukraine.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said it was pleasing to see NZDF personnel embedded in international teams, planning air movements and managing the distribution of donor contributions in support of the self-defence of Ukraine and the maintenance of international rules-based order.
“Our personnel are professionally carrying out their duties, coordinating well with personnel from other nations on the logistics and transportation of donor contributions.”
RNZAF Wing Commander Lisa D’Oliveira, the commander of the Air detachment, said personnel were pleased to get underway with their first tasks moving military equipment and helping Ukraine, with more to come in coming weeks.
New Zealand Army Lieutenant Colonel Vanessa Ropitini, the commander for the logistics detachment, based in Germany, said her team was underway in the international coordination centre, working with partners to get donor supplies to Ukraine.
The work of the logistics team had been essential to ensuring the most appropriate tasks for the Hercules were identified and confirmed, and the team was proud their efforts to secure the first tasks had been successful, she said.
“Everyone is pleased they’re doing tangible work to get military aid to the Ukrainians.”
The deployment of the Hercules, air transportation and logistics personnel is in addition to the deployment of NZDF intelligence staff to the United Kingdom, an officer to the UK Permanent Joint Headquarters and a liaison officer to work at a NATO headquarters in Belgium.
The NZDF’s open source intelligence capability is also being utilised, and a consignment of helmets, body armour, radios and other equipment was sent earlier to support Ukraine’s self-defence. Read the story here.
18 April, 9.45am: Hercules arrives in UK
Our Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules aircraft and crew have arrived in the United Kingdom ready to soon begin transporting donated military aid between centres in Europe. Images credit: Royal Air Force
13 April, 10.10am: RNZAF Hercules departs for Europe
A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules and crew are expected to begin transporting donated military aid bound for Ukraine from centres in Europe from next week.
The Hercules left RNZAF Base Auckland this morning with a crew of nine personnel on board.
The majority of the approximately 50-strong Air detachment will deploy independently to a base in the United Kingdom in advance of the aircraft’s arrival, to start the preparations for the movement of donated military aid destined for Ukraine.
Among this group are alternative flying crew, maintenance technicians, and two air load teams which will manage cargo loads for the aircraft. The two air load teams will also be able to assist with cargo movements on partner military aircraft.
Once based in the United Kingdom, the Hercules will begin flying between third countries in Europe, picking up donated military aid and transporting the cargo to destinations from where the stores can be taken by land into Ukraine.
The movement of donated military aid around Europe is being coordinated by an international coordination centre in Stuttgart, Germany.
The New Zealand Defence Force is deploying a group of eight personnel, including New Zealand Army logistics personnel and RNZAF air liaison and air movements personnel, to work as part of the international team coordinating the logistics for donations, matching transport to aid consignments, as well as receiving, packaging, and arranging the onward transportation of military aid into Ukraine.
NZDF personnel will not be entering Ukraine.
A three-person advance party is currently in the United Kingdom, where they are facilitating the arrival of the aircraft and assimilation of personnel into the Stuttgart coordination centre, before themselves travelling to Stuttgart later this week.
The deployment of the Hercules, air transportation and logistics personnel is in addition to the deployment of NZDF intelligence staff to the United Kingdom. As well, an officer is also being deployed to the UK Permanent Joint Headquarters, and a liaison officer will be working at a NATO headquarters in Belgium.
The NZDF’s open source intelligence capability is being utilised to take advantage of time zone differences between New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
A consignment of helmets, body armour, radios and other equipment was flown by military aircraft to Europe and delivered to Ukraine.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said this was a significant contribution by the New Zealand Defence Force as part of New Zealand’s efforts to support Ukraine’s self-defence.
“It’s complex and the situation in Ukraine is changing almost daily. With the deployment of our air transport and logistics support, we’re working with purpose to get them established in Europe, working alongside our partners, so they can get underway with transporting the large quantities of donated military aid to third countries, and to where it’s needed most, Ukraine.”
Base Commander Auckland, Group Captain Andy Scott, was at the departure as the aircraft left the Air Force base in Whenuapai for Europe.
“We should never underestimate the value we can provide to partners with the contribution of a cargo aircraft and a team of professional, highly motivated service personnel. In situations like this airlift, logistics support and intelligence analysts are always key enablers and we are proud to be able to help,” he said.
Wing Commander Lisa D’Oliveira, the Commanding Officer for RNZAF No 40 Squadron, said the Squadron was excited to be sending a C-130 Hercules and detachment to support air transport operations in Europe.
“This will provide the opportunity for us to operate in a multi-national environment ensuring donor aid can be made available to support the Ukrainians,” she said.
The deployment of the Hercules and RNZAF detachment is for up to 60 days, while the logistics team has been deployed for up to 90 days.
11 April, 4.00pm
We will deploy one of our Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft and personnel as well as New Zealand Army logistics personnel to assist with the transportation and distribution of donated military aid to support Ukraine's self-defence against Russia.
The Hercules will transport military supplies between countries in Europe. Our team of logistics personnel will assist with the preparation, packing and transportation of stores and equipment for onward movement and transfer to Ukrainian armed forces.
Neither our personnel or aircraft will be entering Ukraine.