Combined Aussie/Tongan platoon attack Southern Katipo

A combined platoon of Royal Tongan Marines and Australian Army soldiers from A Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment – 1RAR – attacked an enemy position in mountainous terrain at Okaramio, near Havelock on New Zealand’s South Island, last week.

CAPTIONAustralian Army Private Tobey McKean patrols through the town of Havelock, New Zealand, during Exercise Southern Katipo 2017. Photo by Sergeant Ricky Fuller.

The attack was part of Exercise Southern Katipo 2017 – New Zealand’s largest biennial field training exercise.

The troops scaled a steep hill through thick pine forest to attack role-playing enemy snipers, while an Australian Protected Mobility Vehicle section provided fire support.




Involving the Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal New Zealand Air Force and New Zealand Army, as well as Defence Forces from 13 partner nations, including Australia, the biennial military exercise Southern Katipo is the largest undertaken in New Zealand.

The exercise is a combined, joint field-training exercise focused on developing, exercising and evaluating the New Zealand Defence Force’s ability to project forces anywhere in the South West Pacific and either operate independently or with its coalition partners.

The exercise is designed to simulate a real operations as much as possible, and create training challenges across the spectrum of military operations, including humanitarian aid and maritime patrols, through to peacekeeping and conventional warfighting.

Exercise Southern Katipo 2017 involves more than 3000 troops as well as six helicopters, 17 fixed-wing military aircraft, five ships and more than 100 military vehicles.




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Brian Hartigan

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