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Hercules and Air Force personnel return from mission in support of Ukraine

The Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules and personnel that were deployed to Europe in support of Ukraine have completed their mission and are returning to New Zealand.

23 June, 2022

The aircraft and personnel were deployed in April for a period of up to 60 days to conduct missions in support of Ukraine’s self-defence.

Over that time, crew on the Hercules carried out 62 flights transporting 256,000 kg of military aid and 92 passengers.

The Air detachment commander Wing Commander, Lisa D’Oliveira, said the mission had been a success. 

“We’re really proud to have been making a difference. We went to the UK at an important time and what we have been contributing has been hugely significant. We’re pleased to have played our part in working with the international community in supporting Ukraine’s self-defence,” she said. 

We’re pleased to have played our part in working with the international community in supporting Ukraine’s self-defence.

Air detachment commander Wing Commander, Lisa D’Oliveira

View from the Hercules aircraft flight deck as the crew transport military aid between staging centres in Europe

The NZDF has deployed 86 personnel to the UK and Europe where they have been working with international partners in a range of roles including intelligence, logistics, liaison, artillery training, and air transportation.

This includes personnel based in Germany, working with international partners to cohere and coordinate the movement of donated military aid. 

They have been working to ensure equipment donations are in accordance with Ukraine’s operational priorities, coordinating the logistics for donations and then matching transport to aid consignments. 

Crew on the Hercules were assigned consignments, transporting donated military equipment and stores, including medical stores, between staging points in Europe, from where the aid was taken into Ukraine.

The aircraft was based at RAF Brize Norton, United Kingdom. NZDF personnel have not been entering Ukraine. 

Approximately 40 personnel are travelling back to New Zealand, having completed their deployment. The Hercules, with a crew of nine on board, is scheduled to return to RNZAF Base Auckland this weekend.

In May it was announced an NZDF Artillery Training Team would be working alongside UK counterparts to provide training in use of the L119 Light Gun, dial sights and orientation of the weapon for members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. That training commenced earlier this month.

Read more about our support to Ukraine here

Header photo thanks to the Royal Air Force.