SITREP

RNZAF PHOTO

KIWI FORCES ON A TIGHTROPE
RNZAF Aer Macchi MB339 jet trainer of No14 Squadron, RNZAF Base Ohakea, flies near Mt. Ruapehu to check on activity after the eruption.

By Mark Romanow

N

ew Zealand’s (NZ) main defence constraints are her small population and size, her 200 nautical miles EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) which is the world’s fourth largest covering some 3 million sq. km and her remoteness being located in the South Pacific. Constitutionally NZ is responsible for Niue and the Cook and Tokelau Islands with defence commitments ranging over a vast area of the Pacific Ocean from Tokelau in the north to the Antarctic in the south.

The NZ Defence Force (NZDF) recently completed it’s largest deployment of personnel overseas since the Korean war when it had over 1,000 personnel from all three services committed to the international force in East Timor. This commitment is ongoing as the Kiwi’s are maintaining a battalion group, the 2ND Bn Royal NZ Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) which is replacing the 1ST Bn RNZIR, as part of the UN Transitional Authority. As mentioned in a recent government report “the NZDF has been continuously involved in peacekeeping duties, principally with the United Nations, since 1952. Over 4,000 personnel have been deployed to peacekeeping missions in that time”. The “NZDF is currently deployed on 15 peace support operations world-wide across 14 locations ranging from the Sinai to Kosovo and Bougainville”. Operations such as these have garnered strong support as shown by recent public opinion polls that have indicated an

85% approval rate for peacekeeping. There have also been rotational frigate deployments to the Persian Gulf to support the Multinational Interdiction Force (MIF) plus a mechanised company attached to the British in Bosnia. The 1997 NZ Defence Review acknowledged that “the continued stability of South-East Asia is one of our most important security goals. It is second only to the common security of Australia and NZ”. The Asia Pacific Region “is the only region where arms spending is increasing” and the potential for conflict is increased due to continuing tensions on the Korean peninsula, between China and Taiwan and with conflicting territorial claims in the area. This is partially addressed by the formal security obligations of the Five Power Defence Arrangement (FPDA) linking NZ with Aus tralia, Singapore, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Due to her remoteness NZ forces are annually required to travel vast distances to take part in FPDA exercises in the South China Sea. NZ forces have greatly benefited from the training opportunities available under the FPDA. The defence relationship with Singapore is the second most active after Australia with an extensive range of defence exercises occurring regularly. This mutual cooperation, which
PHOTOS COURTESY OF NZDF

VANGUARD

12

Issue 3, 2000

slightly larger than UK] Also: Antipodes.has seen numerous training opportunities for Singapore forces in NZ and the basing of equipment there. 9. Maori South Island Burnham Air Force: Stewart Island 3. 1 Leander) IPC/MCM.7% Maori.4% Asian and other 24% Anglican. interoperability with friendly forces and combat viability”. Post-election defence briefing papers have stated that “the tight defence budgets of the 1980’s and 1990’s have resulted in a decline in current force equipment reliability. Lies across the Tasman Sea SE of Australia. The alliance with Australia. 10% Other. CURRENT DEFENCE BUDGET NZ$1.065 personnel 19 7 6 3/5 14 Government Capital Terrain Population Ethnic Gr oups Religion Languages Some NZ politicians do not seem to grasp the benefits of maintaining an adequately funded general purpose military that would give the government a wider range of options. 24 Hamel) Army Unit Formations (RF = Regular Force.8% Pacific Islander. to determine the future structure of the NZDF to enhance it’s ability to support peace support operations by the RNZA. [two-island nation. born of the Canberra Pact and formalised in ANZUS. 3. This is especially true considering the unfavourable downturn in the value of the NZ$ vs. Polls also showed that 94% consider the security of Australia to be very or fairly important to NZ. assists the NZDF with technologies like the Mistral VLLAD system.680 sq km.861 personnel (plus 381 Volunteer Reserves) 3 7 1 1 Frigates (2 ANZAC. 15% Roman Catholic. for capital programs but this has been shown to be woefully inadequate. This is out of step with public opinion polls which have shown over half the responents support increasing government expenditures on defence.6% European. remains central to N ew Zealand’s defence policy”. the US$ as this drives up the cost of most capital acquisitions. TF = Territorial Force) 1 8 1 1 1 1 3 Bde (2 RF plus 1 composite TF Inf Bn) Infantry Bns (2RF + 6TF) Armoured Regt (Joint RF/TF) plus TF Recce Sqn SAS Group (2 RF Squadrons) Artillery Regt (Joint RF/TF) plus TF Bty Engineer Regt (RF) plus 1 TF Sqn Logistics Regt North Island Tasman Sea Waiouru• Linton Wellington Trentham Christchurch Pacific Ocean Basic Facts: NEW ZEALAND Total Area 268. 4. Chatham and Kermadec Islands Democratic monarchy Wellington Predominantly mountainous with some large coastal plains. The new Labour government has alr eady completed a new Defence Assessment. 18% Presbyterian. 3.6 billion Cur rent Force Levels: Navy: 1. … a reform of defence force capabilities (under a new Labour Government) that focuses on land forces and downplays the need for a blue-water navy and air strike capability … would dramatically reduce the deployment options available to a future government to respond to what is an uncertain future security environment”. The 97 Review approved funding injections of some NZ$663 million over five years. joint exercises and training opportunities and the basing of RNZAF Skyhawks in Nowra to assist RAN fleet training.1% of GDP which is well below international average. Defence spending has been cut by over 30% during the past decade and currently stands at less than 1.” These CDR have manifested themselves in ways like the joint ANZAC frigate program. 7. that places an air combat capability as it’s lowest priority. Bounty. As s tated in the 97 Review “Australia is New Zealand’s closest and most important security partner. 2000 . cooperation has been reinforced by a multitude of links as part of Closer Defence Relations (CDR). inshore survey (2 laid up) Replenishment ship Ro-Ro (future Military Sealift) ship New Zealand A rm y Auckland 4. 2 B727) Maritime Patrol (P-3K Orion) Light Maritime helicopters (SH-2F/G Seasprite) Light Tactical Transport helicopters (UH-1H Iroquois) be protected by a str ong and wellequipped naval and air force. The new Assessment was ‘fast tracked’ (in two months).5% NZ European. 33% unspecified or none English (official). considering the range of required programs that currently lack funding. “Since 1991. We are a mar itime region s ur rounded by vast distances that can only Strike aircraft (A-4K Skyhawk) Transports (5 C-130H. on top of the baseline budget.000 Territorial Force) 26 Recce (Scorpion: 18 in storage) 78 Tracked APC (M-113) 43 Towed 105mm artillery (incl. Campbell. even though Labour had billed this as the first comprehensive review of overall defence policy VANGUARD 13 Issue 3. The previous government’s stance was that “security within the AsiaPacific region is of prime importance to NZ.500 personnel (plus 5. Auckland.8 million (April 2000) 74. Reliance on Australia has increased ever since NZ implemented a nuclear free policy that weakened US defence relations.

the rise of nationalism and expanding military capabilities of key regional states. Royal NZ Navy (RNZN) Of the thr ee s ervices the RNZ N is presently in the best shape as it recently completed the acquisition of two ANZAC frigates as part of a joint OzKiwi purchase. Peter McHaffie “the ANZAC scores in terms of endurance. but not with. The delay in implementing the modifications has been s orely felt as HMNZS Char les Upham was unavailable for the East Timor deployment. supportability. and is publishing a new White Paper this year to reflect this updated strategic assessment of the region. a Phalanx CIWS. VANGUARD 14 Issue 3.since the substantive 1991 Review. as both naval and air combat capabilities are fundamental in demonstrating that NZ is serious about it’s own defence and committed to regional security. much greater than the ‘generous’ NZ$363 million for two five-year leases including support equipment and start-up costs plus NZ$287 million for outright purchase of the F-16’s. thus relegating the RNZAF and RNZN to be transport forces for the RNZA in the future. would be approved. Fred Wilson noted that “based on our analysis. This also ignores the prevailing environment. into an operational military Sealift ship as the 1991 Review noted the RNZN had “insufficient transport to deploy and sustain a reinforced battalion group away from NZ”. It is mainly based on the conclusions of the ‘Review of the lease of the F-16’ report by former MP Derek Quigley which. Additionally. and the logistics availability that comes by being part of a 10ship program with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)”. and the US. some argue. 2000 . just as Australia perceives that the post-Cold war strategic environment has deteriorated. As noted by the current CNS Rear Adm. Meanwhile the RNZAF is unlikely to be able to replace it’s Skyhawks if they are retired by 2007 as it is improbable that funds. while a Bridge Simulator has been ordered for installation at Devonport naval base to be operational by September 2000. Also plan ned is the acquisition of a towed array sonar system for the ANZAC’s plus the procurement of the Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) which will allow the eight-cell Mk 41 VLS which currently carries 8 RIM-7P Seasparrow to accommodate 32 quad-packed ESSM. The decision to walk away from the purchase of a third ANZAC frigate is ill considered as the former Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Rear Adm. interoperability. The remaining 5 operational Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC) of the indigenously designed and produced MOA class are operated by the RNZNVR and provide a limited MCM capability for NZ harbours. that “only such fighting is to be done and prepared for as is necessary to make or maintain peace” and “that only such money as is necessary for that limited capability is to be spent”. Allowances have been made to fit Harpoon SSM’s at a future date and are fitted for. This is unfortunate considering the 1999 Annual Report stated that NZ would “contribute effectively to the common security of the AustraliaNZ strategic area … by maintaining defence capabilities that are interoperable with those of Australia and that can look after New Zealand’s fair share of the defence burden”. This approach is at odds with the fundamental tenets of NZ defence policy and could alienate both regional allies. A N o2 Squadron A4-K Skyhawk overflies Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS ADELAIDE during exercises off the Australian Coast. This approach basically rests upon the tenets. had flawed and erroneous assumptions. it was decided against the purchase of a third ANZAC frigate in preference of smaller multi-role Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV’s). Approval has finally been received to proceed with the phase three conversion of the former Ro-Ro ferry ‘Charles Upham’. similar to that provided by the better armed Canadian Kingston class MCDV’s. This abrupt shift in strategic policy is already witnessed by the recent decision to terminate the F-16 lease to free up transport funds and fo r re-equ ipping of the RNZA. although it is planned to add a remote minehunting system. acquired in December 1994 but under commercial charter for the last three years. including an ANZAC Combat System Tactical Training and System Support Facility in Auckland. such as instability in Indonesia. as mentioned in the latest issue of NZ Defence Quarterly by commentator Colin James. four ANZAC frigates are required to meet current output requirements and fully meet the defence policy objectives”.

105mm gun detachment live firing during exercises at Waiouru Army Camp. VANGUARD 15 Issue 3. for which we have defence responsibilities. The frigate does not have these limitations”. commencing in 2001 and completing by 2005. Royal NZ Army (RNZA) The RNZA is structured around two regular land force groups based on the two main islands and provides the capacity for one to command the field brigade while the other oversees sustainment arrangements. communications. It follows that the Navy does not need to develop a force specifically for territorial defence … The OPV is. 2000 . Plans are in place to expand the Army to 4. “in terms of force structure. It is the main beneficiary of a NZ$500 million re-equipment program that aims to upgrade the RNZA’s: mobility. A program to acquire Sincgars tactical radios under a FMS from the US is underway to improve interoperability with likely allies. the effect would be quite profound and costly” . The farthest part of the Cook Islands. by its size. and that is right at the top of our priority list for significant expenditure”. To overcome the operational limitation of a small navy the RNZN could sign an Admiral Benelux type agreement with the RAN similar to that signed by the Belgian and Dutch navies. surveillance and fir e-support capabilities . This is a small island nation which is assessed as unlikely to be territorially threatened in the foreseeable future. as noted by the NZ PM. the OPV does not sit well in the NZ situation. The Navy would have to purchase the infrastructure to support yet another class of ship and would … need to train for additional special skills to man them.000 km from NZ”. New FN heavy machine guns have been acquired for Point Direct Fire Support Weapon (DFSW) role although tender s have been deferred for the Area DFSW and the Medium Range Anti-Armour Weapon as have targeting systems for the Point DFSW and the VLLAD detachment. “we feel if there is one thing that has let us down in our overseas deployments. family and their Australian ASLAV variants to replace the current tracked fleet which is proving very expensive to keep operating. limited in its ability to contribute to operations with a coalition force at long distances from NZ.A previous CNS Rear Adm. it is the antiquated nature of the NZ Army’s equipment. Topping the list is a program to provide new wheeled armoured vehicles. is 4. Besides. This is because. in all weathers and for long periods. There is presently a program in place to r efurbish 150 Unimog medium trucks to double their operational life to 30 years and allow the medium vehicle replacement program to be postponed until at least 2010. This is expected to comprise 24 fire-support vehicles (FSV) and some 80 infantry mobility vehicles (IMV) configured for various roles. Dr Helen Clark. The purchase of a third ANZAC frigate could make fiscal sense as it could allow for the operational rotation of one deployed on MIF type missions and as noted in the 97 Review “ t h e Southern Ocean includes some of the roughest seas.900 by 2005/6 as well as adding a fourth rifle company to each regular force battalion (Bn). HMNZS Te Kaha entering Auckland for the first time 11 July 1997. based on the Diesel Division General Motors of Canada LAV-III/Bison APC Royal Regiment New Zealand Artillery. Operation as an integrated fleet would strengthen capability in peacekeeping. The FSV/IMV project will provide the RNZA with enough vehicles to motorise one RF Bn group and a company of the second Bn with approval to purchase to be presented to the government mid-year for an in service date of mid-2002. NZ has already purchased 30 (out of total of 115) Holden Rodeo 4WD vehicles for the East Timor deployment out of a total of 423 new Light Oper ational Vehicles ( LOV) being purchased to replace the Army’s 567 obsolete Landrovers. The total purchase including some 115 non-military vehicles and the balance as standard military vehicles. SAR and humanitarian operations and financial benefits would accrue through joint logistics procurement and training while fully utilising common infrastructures. Jack Welch notes that an analysis of smaller OPV’s being procured as an ANZAC alternative “reveals that they are not as cheap overall as their capital cost would suggest. In a small navy such as ours.

this would show NZ’s commitment to regional stability. and an interim capability provided by three SH-2Fs (plus one spare) which have already undertaken deployments in a full operational role. as has been suggested. The Orions are being extensively upgraded under projects Kestrel and Sirius. A reduction of air bases to Ohakea only. based in Edmonton. in conjunction with the Australian buy. Antarctica. In conjunction with the ANZAC program 5 SH-2G Seasprite shipborne maritime helicopters have been purchased with deliveries commenced this March and ending early in 2003. equipment partially upgraded in the early 1980’s under project Rigel. if. As noted in the 99 Report “the rebuilding of the NZDF is seen … as a litmus test of NZ’s resolve and commitment to meet its fair share of the burden in maintaining peace. Ruapehu. and recoup the NZ$58 costs already incurred. which are currently receiving a lifeextension upgrade. Kestrel seeks to extend airframe life by at least 20 years and should be complete by July 2001 while Sirius will comprehensiv ely modernise the Orions tactical systems. as supported by the 1998 Air Combat Future Options study that underpinned the original acquisition decision.Royal NZ Air Force (RNZAF) The RNZAF operates its Iroquois fleet. plus participation in a multinatio nal training scheme such as the NFTC could effect significant additional savings. and is similar to the Canadian planned Aurora Life Extension project. in addi tion to having their obsolete autopilots replaced by early 2001. Funding issues and the new Gover nment’s desire to move away from combat capability are serious challenges to Sirius. b Mark Romanow is an independent Defence/Geopolitical Analyst. complemented by a plann ed lightweight torpedo upgrade. and the sale of the Macchi jet training fleet. The RNZAF's fleet of 6 P-3K Orions taxiing at RNZAF Base Whenuapai. as this would provide new combat aircraft that would be operational until at least 2030. the Skyhawks are sold to the Philippines for just enough to cover the cost of the required ECM pods. Auckland. and continue with the lease of the 28 F-16’s Seasprite SH-2F operating down in the Ross Sea. the suggested exit cost of NZ$11 million plus save the Skyhawk upgrade costs. No 75 Squadron Skyhawk flies a training exercise near Mt. The present Hercules are nearing the end of their expected service as they were some of the first ‘H’ models off the production line and an option. . influenced by the Quigley report that favoured cancellation. has been taken that is open till late 2002 on 5 C-130J models for purchase between 2005-2008. in support of RNZA operations and the Maritime assets in suppo rt o f the RNZN. Additionally. especially in the Asia-Pacific region”. having had their surveillance A rare sight. It is suggested that it is still not too late for the NZ government to reverse it’s decision. The ageing Skyhawks will require some NZ$35 million to extend their lives to 2007.