More than 100 members of the Australian Defence Force have joined a French-flavoured multinational force for some valuable training in disaster-response interoperability.
Running until 18 November, Exercise Croix Du Sud (Southern Cross) is the largest humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) training exercise in the South Pacific.
Led by the French Armed Forces of New Caledonia (FANC), Croix Du Sud is held every two years as part of France’s engagement in the region and assists all participants to prepare for major HADR operations.
Commander of the Australian Contingent Lieutenant Colonel Paul Manoel said the exercise tackled the more difficult areas of disaster response.
“Croix Du Sud allows us to deal with the responses that may be required when the security situation is complex following a disaster,” Lieutenant Colonel Manoel said.
“We are well experienced with supplying aid and disaster recovery forces to the region; this exercise will allow us to train as a multinational force dealing with non-combatant evacuation and security operations.
“By training for the difficult aspects we become better prepared for a coordinated response under a broader range of possibilities.”
The scenario will call for military assistance including a non-combatant evacuation operation followed by stability and security operations.
Exercise Croix Du Sud 2016 includes troop contributions from France (New Caledonia and French Polynesia), Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, United Kingdom, United States and Vanuatu.
112 Australian personnel will participate including a company-minus team of infantry from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR), a Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules transport aircraft and two KA350 King Air tactical utility aircraft, along with supporting and headquarters personnel.
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