28 Aug 2016

NZDF flying Middle-East air missions in high temps

5:00 pm on 28 August 2016

New Zealand soldiers have flown 32 missions into Iraq and Afghanistan since early June, supporting the Coalition operations, the Defence Force says.

Air Commodore Darryn Webb (top left) helps secure a load on the Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft.

Air Commodore Darryn Webb (top left) helps secure a load on the Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft. Photo: Supplied: Royal Australian Air Force

The 34-strong air transport team transported freight and troops into the two countries, Air Commodore Darryn Webb said.

Air Commodore Webb said the team was operating in tough conditions, flying about 85 hours a month in 45° Celsius heat.

The Defence Force contingent includes aircraft technicians, logistics specialists, maintenance personnel, and loaders.

The team is working with an Australian Defence Force group and the deployment is due to end in December.

"They also have to contend with air temperatures in the mid-40s, with the metallic surfaces of equipment well above that," said Air Commodore Webb who has just visited the team.

He said they were flying about double the hours of similar aircraft conducting military air operations.

The C-130 Hercules aircraft is towed to its position.

The C-130 Hercules aircraft is towed to its position. Photo: Supplied: Royal Australian Air Force

"I am very proud of their achievements."

A team member said the work could be both physically and mentally demanding, "especially when we are wearing body armour".

The NZDF contingent's deployment is for six months, until December 2016.

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