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Flight Home for East Timorese

Train to Survive

UN Sanction Flights Continue

NH90 Simulator Success

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Contents 04

Timor-Leste Homecoming


NH90 Simulator Success





Engineering a Lifestyle

First Word



Small Team Make Big Difference for the P-3K2



Safe Spaces on Bases

Youth Development Trade in Full Swing

31 Veterans’ Affairs Offering Flexible Support


UN Sanction Work Continues


Flights to the Ice Begin

32 33 Notices

34 Photo of the month


Train to Survive

OUR MISSION The RNZAF will provide New Zealand with relevant, responsive and effective Air Power to meet its security interests.



Loadmasters Reach New Heights

An agile and adaptive Air Force with the versatility essential for NZDF operations. COVER: Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Training PHOTOGRAPHER: CPL Vanessa Parker

Published by Defence Public Affairs HQ NZ Defence Force Wellington, New Zealand Editor Rebecca Quilliam Email: Design and Layout Defence Public Affairs Printed by Bluestar Private Bag 39996, Wellington Distribution Email: Editorial contributions and ideas are welcomed. They can be emailed directly to the Editor and do not need to be forwarded through normal command chains. Contributions need to include • writer’s name, rank and unit • photos provided separate from the text – at least 300dpi. Air Force News will hold the copyright for submitted articles or photographs it publishes. Articles and photographs published in Air Force News cannot be published elsewhere without permission. ISSN 1175–2327



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First Word S

ince taking over as Base Commander Woodbourne, I have been proud of the level of commitment of base personnel. They work hard to ensure our people who train here leave as highly qualified, agile and productive members of the Air Force. We are the backbone of this organisation. We have beautiful consistent weather, the Marlborough Sounds, as well as being a great place to bring up children. These comments are typically associated with Woodbourne; but in my opinion the most important benefit of the base is its contribution to our Air Force.



“Everyone who joins our Air Force starts their career at Woodbourne and from time to time return for leadership development and advanced trade training. Woodbourne is more than ‘The Air Force Starts here’.”

Woodbourne is the foundation of the RNZAF, it’s about our people and how they contribute to the RNZAF’s capability. For most, Woodbourne is not the final destination in their careers, that’s either Whenuapai or Ohakea. Woodbourne represents a place they pass through on their way to their ultimate prize. The Command Warrant Officer – Warrant Officer Treena Brown and I often pose the following question to our promotion courses “How do you describe Woodbourne as a base?” The typical response being “Woodbourne is a training base” and this is where language is important – Woodbourne is a Military Air Base just like Whenuapai and Ohakea. Where Whenuapai and Ohakea deliver military air operations, Woodbourne delivers training.

There are three distinct parts to a taiaha, the upoko (head), the arero (tongue) and the tinana (body). Typically the base of the upoko is adorned with a collar of feathers, the purpose being to add to the beauty of the weapon and to distract the opponent during battle. I’ll leave it to you to decide what you think the feathers represent. To me, the upoko and arero represent Bases Whenuapai and Ohakea, in that they deliver the RNZAF operational outputs – as some may say, the sharp end. Like the upoko and arero which are carved and shaped to reinforce beauty and strength; Ohakea and Whenuapai, or more accurately their aircraft, have the same effect. They represent the face and strength of the RNZAF. Whereas the tinana of the taiaha can be represented by Woodbourne’s outputs. To look at, the tinana appears nondescript, it’s long and flat and there are no intricate carvings. But looking at the complete taiaha, the significance of the tinana is obvious – the upoko and arero are ineffective without the tinana, it is the tinana that provides the strength and projection of force. So next time you describe Woodbourne as a base, think about taiaha analogy and remember... Woodbourne is a Military Air Base that delivers training.

Te Ao Māori is filled with metaphor and one that springs to mind is the idea that the RNZAF can be represented by a taiaha.

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O P E R A T I O N S  |

Timor-Leste Homecoming In the pre-dawn darkness at Base Auckland about 50 people recently gathered at Air Movements ready to board a C-130 Hercules bound for Timor-Leste.

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Passengers lining up to board the C-130 bound for Timor-Leste RIGHT

Cargo being loaded onto the C-130 FAR RIGHT

A C-130 leaving Base Auckland on the repatriation flight to Timor-Leste


he passengers, made up of students, military personnel, conservation groups and officials, were being repatriated after being stranded in New Zealand by the Covid-19 pandemic. The New Zealand Defence Force has been working with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Government of TimorLeste to get the group home. The students had been studying at universities and training institutions in New Zealand but have been unable to return home due to the unavailability of commercial passenger flights. Two Timor-Leste Defence Force (Forcas Defesa Timor Lorosae) band personnel, Second Sergeant Cesar Ximenes and Private Elvis Correia had been studying at NZ Defence College in Burnham. “I am very happy to be going home because I can see my family and go back to my country,” Second Sergeant Ximenes said.

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It was his first time going on an Air Force aircraft and he said he was excited about the flight. Private Correia said unfortunately they were missing the last part of their course because of the timing of the flight home, but he was looking forward to seeing his family. Birgit Hermann works for the Timor-Leste marine conservation Non-Governmental Organisation Blue Ventures. When Covid-19 reached pandemic level earlier in the year, she had 48 hours to decide whether to return home. “I went back to New Zealand and didn’t realise it would take six months to return again. It felt like fleeing a war zone because there was such a massexodus of people leaving. “It’s sad leaving New Zealand, but I’m looking forward to going back. Flying on the Hercules feels a bit like an adventure – I had to Google what it was like to fly in.”

O P E R A T I O N S  |

Daniel Isaak is a nurse teaching in a Dili hospital and is husband to the New Zealand Deputy Head of Mission. “We had been living there for two years when the pandemic hit,” he said. “I came back to New Zealand in the beginning of March, but that wasn’t the original plan, we were going to keep living in Timor-Leste. As it happened, I was returning to the country from overseas when Timor-Leste closed its borders and I was stuck at the Indonesian Airport. “A flight back to New Zealand was my only option. My family followed about three weeks later when the New Zealand Government decided it wouldn’t be safe to have the children there – there was a lot we didn’t know about Covid at the time.”

The passengers had to undergo 14 days’ managed isolation on arrival in Dili to meet Timor-Leste government requirements. Air Component Commander Air Commodore Tim Walshe said the Air Force had carried out a number of repatriation flights to support Pacific neighbours seeking help in getting their citizens home. This included eight flights in June returning more than 1,000 Vanuatu nationals, including Recognised Seasonal Employer workers, who had been unable to return home due to the cancellation of commercial flights.

“We’re really grateful to the Air Force for flying us over. We’ve been trying for a long time to make something happen, and of course, the military just does the job.” –Daniel Isaak, Nurse

The flight, with two children in tow, was a “little nerve-wracking”, Mr Isaak said. The flight also carried medical supplies including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

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Air Force continues monitoring sanctions against North Korea The New Zealand Defence Force has deployed a P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea.


he sanctions resolutions, adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) between 2006 and 2017, are intended to persuade North Korea to denuclearise and abandon its ballistic missile capabilities.

As with the previous deployments, the aircraft is based at Kadena Air Base in Japan. Maritime surveillance patrols have been flown over international waters in North Asia, during the months of September and October.

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral (RADM) Jim Gilmour said the P-3K2 is carrying out maritime surveillance patrols to detect and deter attempts to evade sanctions.

During patrols, the aircrew have been detecting and monitoring vessels of interest and gathering information on illicit ship-to-ship transfers at sea of sanctioned goods such as oil and coal.

“The P-3K2 is a long-range maritime patrol aircraft and our personnel are highly trained in conducting maritime surveillance,” he said.

There had been additional requirements to meet in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had added to the duration of the deployment, RADM Gilmour said.

“We will be working alongside military partners as part of the international efforts to enforce the sanctions against North Korea. This is an important mission that contributes to regional stability and security.”

The personnel involved have undertaken the Japanese Government’s required 14-day quarantine period on arrival in Japan and they will undertake 14 days managed isolation on their return to New Zealand. All personnel also have the necessary equipment and support so they are able to minimise risks from Covid-19 during their deployment.

This is the third deployment of a P-3K2 in support of the implementation of the UNSC resolutions, following previous deployments in September–October 2018 and October–November 2019.

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O P E R A T I O N S  |

Flights to the Ice Begin This month the Air Force will begin its annual flights down to Antarctica and will be taking a special team with them.


team of military hydrographers are among New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel bound for the frozen continent as part of its long-standing commitment to supporting scientific and environmental programmes on the ice. Five NZDF personnel are already in Antarctica for the summer season, working as part of the support team at New Zealand’s Scott Base.

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral (RADM) Jim Gilmour said the NZDF had been providing support to Antarctica programmes since the 1950s, making this one of its most enduring missions. Antarctica New Zealand CEO Sarah Williamson says it’s great to continue working with the NZDF for another summer season on the ice.

NZDF support to Antarctica programmes includes air transportation staff based at the Harewood terminal in Christchurch and flights to and from Antarctica.

“Every season we look forward to NZDF staff joining our team at Scott Base, they help fill a variety of roles from communications support, to plant operators and logistics.

This summer, the Air Force is scheduled to operate about a dozen flights to Antarctica using C-130 Hercules and Boeing B757 aircraft to transport cargo and passengers. The flights are due to get underway in the coming weeks.

“This season the data gathered by the hydrographers will be a vital part of planning for the biggest project Antarctica New Zealand has ever undertaken, the Scott Base redevelopment project,” she says.

A team of six personnel from the Royal New Zealand Navy dive and hydrography unit HMNZS MATATAUA will join the passengers on a flight to carry out an underwater survey for Antarctica New Zealand to assist the organisation with logistical planning for the delivery of its Scott Base redevelopment project.

During the 2019/20 summer season, the NZDF deployed 132 personnel to the ice with another 26 personnel based at Harewood air movements terminal in Christchurch, supporting flights to and from Antarctica including for the United States Antarctic Program.

Last summer, the NZDF personnel who went to Antarctica included cargo handlers, engineers, drivers, aviation refuellers, communications operators, and base support staff. RADM Gilmour said a smaller number of NZDF personnel were going to the ice this year, due to Antarctic programmes operating a reduced season to minimise the possibility of Covid-19 entering the continent. The Senior National Officer for Operation Antarctica, Major Andrew Thornton, said all those deploying were meeting Antarctica New Zealand’s requirements including undergoing Covid-19 testing and a 14-day managed isolation prior to departure. “Antarctica is obviously an incredibly special and unique environment and we take our responsibilities seriously to keep it that way.”

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NH90 Simulator Success B Y


No. 3 Squadron’s new NH90 simulator arrived in the country just as Covid-19 travel restrictions came into force. The timing was extraordinarily fortunate because if it had been delayed, it would not be installed for use now and No. 3 Squadron would be dealing with further significant training delays.

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A S S E T S  |

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SQNLDR Craig Kenny at the Instructor Operating Station Inside view of the simulator Outside dome of the simulator


nstalling the $42 million simulator in its 12m tall bespoke building started in May. Canadian company CAE produced the simulator and will provide its maintenance and support. The travel restrictions prevented staff from Canada from being able to install the unit, so CAE (New Zealand) staff, as well as a couple of Air Force avionics technicians took on the challenging task. The simulator has been installed in an interim configuration with final software loads and qualification expected to occur when border restrictions are eased with Canada and Australia. The price tag includes the simulator itself, the building, facilities and two mission planning computers. “It’s great for us to not have it still sitting in containers unused,” Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Craig Kenny said. “If the simulator wasn’t purchased a couple of years ago and wasn’t working now, No. 3 Squadron would have to continue training in Australia or Germany, where other simulators are located.

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It would have required managed isolation both ways, which makes things difficult for the squadron to have crews away for very long periods of time to do that training.” Supporting the simulator are eight computer server racks. Four of those run the visual database and the scene that’s projected onto the dome. The others look after the flight model simulation, control loading, tactical scenario debrief station and instructor operating stations. Sitting above the 8m x 8m dome are 10 projectors producing a 220° degree horizontal display and a 90° degree vertical view. “The visual display is larger than any of the simulators which NH90 aircrew have used previously and provides more visual cues for close manoeuvring near obstacles and for landing on confined areas such as pinnacles and on ship decks. Obviously that’s very important for the type of flying our pilots conduct,” SQNLDR Kenny said.

A S S E T S  |

NH90 helicopter instructor SQNLDR Ben Pryor said before the simulator became operational, there had been an extensive testing period. “Testing has been designed to validate all the training sequences, which we intend to use for NH90 crew training. This has included all of the functional and subjective testing, which is a requirement for the final, qualification of the device.”

“Certainly great that they were able to contribute to the success of the project, SQNLDR Pryor said. “It’s been quite an impressive feat for a very small CAE and Air Force team to achieve the installation, with remote support provided from Canada.” Having the simulator on base meant training would be easier and the range of exercises would be expanded, he said.

The simulator is an integral part of the flying training system, particularly for emergency training and the ability to practice crew resource management and complex mission scenarios, which were not necessarily safe or easy to generate in the aircraft, he said.

“A good example is the use of it for electronic warfare training, or for tactical counter-terrorist or maritime training. While we have used overseas simulators for a portion of this type of training, it wasn’t practical every time we had a course to send people overseas to use the sim.

The experience for the avionics technicians working alongside New Zealand CAE staff would have been very worthwhile and a great insight to the deeper workings of the simulator.

“It’s been a real success to get it to this stage and we are certainly looking forward to the coming months when we will be able to transition from the interim capability to the final capability.”

“The project certainly had a number of challenges to work its way through, particularly in terms of how we have dealt with the Covid situation and bringing the simulator into service.” – Squadron Leader Ben Pryor

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F E AT U R E   |


Survive. Evade. Resist. Escape. These four fundamentals are taught to Air Force personnel if they find themselves in an isolating event. Air Force News followed some of the training and learned a thing or two in the process.

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F E AT U R E   |

A group of 16 aircrew were put through their paces recently at Base Auckland, tackling the demanding Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) course. It covers both sea and land survival skills including survival equipment, navigation, shelter building, fire building,escape techniques, resistance techniques, and evasion tactics.


he three-week course culminates in the team spending a number of nights in the field, using salvaged materials and their skills to build shelters, feed themselves, and evade a hunter force of infantry and infantry support dogs. They will be hungry, exhausted and cold as well as exposed to the psychological stressors of fear, boredom and loneliness. They will need to remember how to use mental skills taught during the course, including self-talk, tactical breathing, mindfulness, goal setting and visualisation. Course instructor Corporal (CPL) Callum Hill said during the group’s nights out in the bush they will have to meet the “priorities of survival” – first aid, clothing, shelter, fire, location, water and food. “Those are the priorities they have to achieve to stay alive,” he said. “They get an appreciation for food and for clean water that doesn’t taste like Manuka smoke that’s been boiled. It brings them back to the basics of living and not taking anything for granted. They’re pretty glad when it’s all over.”

However, after the course, the team will have a real sense of achievement, CPL Hill said. “Especially those who have never lit fires before, now they have a new skillset and know how easy or hard it can be to light one. “On base, where we practice, it’s pretty easy because most of the materials are nice and dry and prepped. But once they get into that solo phase or the group phase, the materials are a bit sparser and there will be damper conditions because they will be in the bush.” The SERE unit’s motto is ‘Knowledge borne through experience’. “This is their first experience to gain that knowledge. By empowering that motto, we are empowering our people,” CPL Hill said. The course is the initial one offered by the unit. Later in an airman’s career, they will learn aircraft-specific Aeronautical Life Support Equipment, cold weather survival and later, if needed, extreme cold weather survival in Antarctica.

As an instructor, CPL Hill has also completed survival courses overseas, including Australia, Samoa, America and Canada. The Australian course, in Townsville, is based around jungle and arid environments, he said. “We have also travelled with No. 230 Squadron’s Communications team for a month in the jungles of Samoa. Once they had finished their exercise we taught them some survival techniques. “The challenge there was the jungle environment being wet, full of insects and very humid – so we needed to try to keep up those hydration levels. Building a fire in that environment can be hard, sometimes a couple of hours just to get a good heat base set.” During the Canadian Arctic Survival Course, in the middle of winter at Resolute Bay, CPL Hill said they experienced temperatures as low as -56° degrees. “We spent nights in tents we had assembled, a snow cave and an igloo. ”

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Building a shelter and a fire are near the top of your top priorities if you find yourself alone in most environments. The SERE students were expected to be able to do both by the end of the course – regardless of the conditions.

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helters were expected to be strong, waterproof and able to shield the user from the elements. Fires can also be lit despite wood and other materials being wet. Instructors taught the students how to create non-permissive (non-peace time) shelters that were camouflaged within the environment by using foliage from the surrounding bush. They were also shown ways of not compromising the plants in a way that would give away the shelter’s location to any nearby enemy. In the event of a plane crash within a permissive (peace time) environment survivors want to be seen, therefore shelters are constructed differently to aid in identifying a survivor’s position and more adequately meet survival needs. The SERE training students were provided parachute material as a simulation of materials found within an aircraft. A section of parachute can adhere to the SATS principle taught (Size, Angle, Tension, Separation). Students were shown a method which met these rules, transforming what was a porous fabric with no thermal properties into a waterproof shelter with insulation.

Students were encouraged to think about what issued equipment they would have with them to help in making their shelters more comfortable, including using their survival blankets to stop the wind and rain coming through, as well as reflecting heat from the sun or their survival fires for warmth. SERE instructor, Corporal (CPL) Renee Thyne said shelter building was a hands-on skill where the students were taught how to use a range of materials that can be adapted to various environments. “The students need to utilise both natural and man-made materials so they can construct some form of shelter that meets their survival needs. We teach them simple techniques using basic resources so they can adapt to their surroundings with minimal equipment.” Protection from the elements is an essential priority of survival and anybody in a survival situation needs to be able to provide themselves with shelter, she said. “The level of challenge depends on the environment they are in. There are challenges in each environment – there are things that are easier to source in some environments and extremely difficult in others.

F E AT U R E   |


Building a fire below ground level, using a hole in the ground as a chimney Building a fire using wet wood Building a camouflaged shelter in the bush Building a weather-proof shelter in the bush

So in a bush environment it’s easy to source shelter, fire and water resources. “If you go into the arid, desert environment, water and wood are likely to be scarce resources making it more difficult to hydrate and find protection from the elements. Therefore a survivor will be required to expend more energy and efforts to meet their priorities of survival.” The students had been practicing at both fire and shelter building in preparation for their solo trips, CPL Thyne said. But she thought the fire would still test them. “Building a fire tends to be one of the heaviest burdens for energy expenditure, especially gathering material for it. If they are unable to light it, the psychological impact of not creating a fire can really affect them.” With inclement weather expected for the group’s nights out in the open, they put extra hours into practicing building and maintaining a fire from wet wood.

The process was to split the wood down to the smallest, driest slivers, found in the centre of the log to start the fire. They were also shown methods of using kindling to help split stubborn logs and remove stuck knives. Fellow SERE instructor Sergeant (SGT) Jade Washer said the philosophy behind teaching the students wet fire techniques was to give them confidence if they found themselves in a non-ideal environment where they had to use wet resources to get their fire going. “They need to have the experience and confidence to be able to do it – especially when they don’t have staff there supervising or colleagues to bounce ideas off. “Also they might find themselves in environments where that is their only option to get a fire going – and fire provides so many other benefits in terms of warmth, light, morale, cooking food, boiling water and attracting attention for rescue.

“Having the confidence to make a fire in any environment is quite important. The students have built quite a few fires by this stage of the course where they have been able to get them built up quite quickly and getting it established becomes easier.” The students would need to ensure they spent time preparing their resources because the fire would burn through them quickly if they didn’t keep it established and sustained. SGT Washer said. “If the fire burns out then the students will be back at the beginning splitting more wet wood. When they get it right, that’s a big relief for them because that’s probably one of the things they worry about the most when it comes to their assessment later in the course. “We don’t let them use lighters or fire starters. They need to use the flint, cotton wool and Vaseline because that’s the kind of equipment they would have in their personal survival kit.”

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IN THE THICK OF IT An aircraft has crashed, the enemy forces are approaching. The surviving crew have some decisions to make to reach the safety of friendly forces. Do they choose to move quickly away from the approaching enemy force, or remain with the aircraft in hope of defending the site or a quick recovery from friendly forces?

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he crew develop a rough plan and choose to move quickly, putting time, distance and terrain between them and the enemy. Thick bush is the best chance to evade the approaching danger. The challenges facing the students will be the undulating terrain and fatigue, SERE instructor Sergeant (SGT) Sarah Morrison said. “Here we have lots of fallen trees this makes it difficult to move quickly, all while avoiding obtaining injuries.” The same principles of survival apply, no matter the environment, so the crew will still have to treat first aid injuries, protect themselves from the environment and attempt to establish communications with friendly forces whilst avoiding the enemy force. The terrain has thickened and the possible presence of the enemy force continues.

The crew start moving slowly and maintain discipline so they are not detected by the enemy. “Basically, once they’ve gone through that successfully without being captured, they’ll be looking to be uplifted by a recovery force and reintegrated back into control of their own forces.” The crew will soon be able to relax as friendly forces arrive on scene and the crew are transported to safety. Training activities like these are invaluable and designed for the students to practice procedures after an isolating event, SGT Morrison said. “In a real time situation there may be an enemy force after them as well as potentially being injured, and having limited food and resources.”

F E AT U R E   |


The 16 aircrew taking part in the SERE training have found it challenging and extremely rewarding. They have been tested by learning skills foreign to many of them.


ir warfare specialist under training Acting Corporal Mitchel Voice said he was learning skills he would never get on “civvy street”.

“The wet fire training was so much harder than I anticipated, but every time I practice and do more I feel more confident.

“Especially the tactical stuff in the military environment. It’s good to see how widely used it is and how there are strict procedures for everyone going into theatre. It’s really good to know that if the aircraft I’m in goes down this training will be beneficial in keeping me safer.”

“In terms of practical application for my role, for where we fly, you have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best and that is what this course is – preparing us for the worst,” she said.

Trainee pilot, Pilot Officer (PLTOFF) Daniel Busbridge said the sea survival aspect of the training, conducted by the Parachute Training Support Unit, would be beneficial in his future career. “Obviously if we eject, we have to learn how to handle ourselves under canopy and if we get ourselves in water, knowing how to use the single-man life rafts. I’ve always been pretty interested in this survival stuff, it’s good fun as well as great knowledge to have.” Air warfare officer under training (PLTOFF) Petra Hunting said the practical aspect of the training was beneficial.

“The biggest challenge I’ve found is to do with physical strength – realising how much more work I have to do. It’s hard not to compare yourself to the guys. It’s good to see what I need to improve upon, so should I ever find myself in a situation, I’ll be prepared and I’ll have everything I need to succeed.” Trainee pilot, (PLTOFF) Callum Geddes is on secondment from the Royal Australian Air Force until the end of next year. “It’s definitely going to be used a lot in the future – the survival skills, working as a team and learning how to make fires in different ways that I had never thought of. The challenge has been not knowing how to do any of these things – the instructors make it look quite easy. I’m absolutely loving it.”

Trainee pilot, (PLTOFF) Dane JamesonJenzen loved learning new skills. “Tying knots, lighting fires out in the field, hooching up good shelter and using different equipment to build shelters. I’m not really an outdoorsy person, so it’s been challenging, but good. It’s a good experience. I’m feeling good about the solo night out – but I guess I’ll see how I feel after a number of days with little food. I’m looking forward to the stories to tell.”

“You can be told how to do something and you can watch someone show you how to do something, but until you do it yourself you don’t really know your own abilities and what you’re good at.” – Pilot Officer Petra Hunting

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Loadmasters Reach New Heights Four new helicopter loadmasters have graduated from their basic course and will begin their trade at No. 3 Squadron at Base Ohakea and No. 6 Squadron at Base Auckland.


cool head, quick reactions and critical thinking skills are essential for a helicopter loadmaster to be able to assess fast changing situations and to be able to determine the right course of action, and then communicate it effectively to achieve a successful mission. For Corporal (CPL) Jack Everett, the job has fulfilled a dream he has had since high school when he discussed the career with a Defence Force recruiter. “After looking into it I thought that it looked like a pretty cool job,” he said. Now, at 21, CPL Everett has progressed from struggling to direct a helicopter around a practice square to the exacting job of directing the pilot with pinpoint accuracy. “I’m now able to winch someone to a specific point with night vision goggles, in amongst a whole lot of trees,” he said. It’s a handy skill to have when you are part of a search and rescue team. CPL Jenn Harley has changed her Air Force trade from photography and is now calling the shots from her “flying office”.

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“Having a helicopter as an office everyday was very appealing and I also wanted a role that was challenging and engaging.” After training on the A109 light utility helicopters she is now itching to get on with the job on the NH90 medium utility helicopters in No. 3 Squadron. Being part of the Air Force means being exposed to a variety of experiences, she said. “You’ll meet some of the best people you’ll ever know and you’ll get to experience a range of things that a lot of people will never get.” A desire to work at the sharp end of the New Zealand Defence Force led to CPL Mark Howard swapping the fitness industry for working at the business end of a helicopter in some of the Air Force’s most extreme scenarios. The 34-year-old started his working career as a personal trainer and fitness manager before joining the Air Force, initially working in security. “I am looking forward to the challenging nature of the job, and that there is a lot of variation day to day.


“It is also a job that is at the front lines of the NZDF, so you can see the difference being made, such as the Kaikoura earthquake.”

“Being part of the New Zealand Defence Force means that I have a career that I am proud of and that really makes a difference in helping and protecting our country.

One of the biggest highlights of the loadmaster course was mountain flying in the South Island and seeing a new area of the country from a different perspective, he said.

“Whether it be in border protection, search and rescue or helping after a major catastrophe like the Whakaari/ White Island eruption or the Christchurch earthquakes.”

“It is also a rewarding job where you can go out and help people and see that immediate positive effect on others.”

The 11-month helicopter loadmaster training is demanding and requires a high degree of skill to ensure personnel are ready for all scenarios and environments.

As a stevedore at the Ports of Auckland, Ordinary (O) helicopter loadmaster Michael Fraser dreamed of flying. Now he has graduated, he will move on to the Seasprite Aircraft Conversion Course and then the Operational Conversion Course. As part of No. 6 Squadron, O Fraser’s role will include winching, photography, load lifting, in-flight refuelling and operating the MAG 58 machine gun. “I have always wanted to fly and the Navy gave me the opportunity. The loadmaster role is an exciting one where I will get to help a lot of people and see some amazing sights,” he said.


Four new helicopter loadmasters graduating on the flight line at Base Ohakea TOP RIGHT

Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark overseeing the graduation BOTTOM LEFT

Graduating helicopter loadmaster Corporal Jenn Harley being congratulated by Minister of Defence Ron Mark BOTTOM RIGHT

Personnel on parade during the ceremony

No. 3 Squadron supports the New Zealand Army by delivering troops and capability into combat and also support the NZ Police and other government agencies. It is also called on to deliver aid and search and rescue missions within New Zealand and around the South Pacific. In the past year, NH90 helicopters and crew supported the Australian Defence Force-led response to the bushfires in Australia, and also supported the response to the Whakaari/White Island eruption.

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A Stirling Career B Y


When General Service Hand Tui Stirling began his military career 50 years ago, he was almost immediately deployed to the Vietnam War. After a 20-year Army career, he changed to the Air Force and he’s not planning on retiring anytime soon.


y body will tell me how long I will keep going for. It’s not told me yet. I’ll go for as long as I can swing my shovel and swing my axe and do the job I’m supposed to do. “Plus my wife doesn’t want me to retire – she thinks I’ll drive her mad.” Starting his career on July 14, 1969, General Service Hand (GSH) Stirling was first posted to Burnham Camp where he began training for deployment to Vietnam. The following year he left New Zealand and didn’t return for two years. “In Vietnam I was an assault pioneer. Our role was to provide minor engineering support when required.” Thinking back to that deployment, GSH Stirling preferred to remember the good times over the bad. “The good times were being out of the bush after six weeks being in there, then coming out on R and R for about a week.” After spending seven months deployed in the war, GSH Stirling was posted to Singapore. It was a posting he returned to, in his role as a rifleman in Alpha Company, periodically over the following eight years. “I loved it. We had a 10-day induction to acclimatise us to the heat. One of the highlights was the comradeship that formed between us from that time to this day. “From my first trip to the last one I formed a good rapport with the locals – as Kiwis do all around the world.”

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After returning from one stint in Singapore, GSH Stirling was relaxing in an Auckland bar when he spotted the woman he would later go on to marry.

“During the flight the pilots let us up the front, but we were told pretty quickly to get back to the rear because the plane was starting to fly nose-down.

“I was with her brother, we came home together on the same plane and ended up in a bar. He called her to join us. As soon as she came in the door I said to my mates, ‘that’s my lady’.

“We ended up being trounced by Central and beaten up by Northern as their boys were much bigger than us Southern boys,” he said.

“We’ve been together since 1975.” In 1990, after postings to Waiouru, Napier and Ohakea, GSH Stirling left the military – but his time relaxing didn’t last for long and a few months later he applied for a job with the Air Force as a security guard at Base Ohakea. “I mostly worked the night patrols. Near the end of that period they gave me the patrols around Raumai Range, which I patrolled three times daily. I became a permanent range warden a few years later and I start work at 6.30am and finish when the last person leaves.” The outdoor role suits him, having grown-up in the rural east coast of the North Island. “I was born in Waipiro Bay between Gisborne and the East Cape. There were 13 of us kids and we all lived off the sea and the bush. “I was sent to Christchurch West High School where I first encountered the Air Force and became an air cadet. In 1962 I was selected for the South Island Air Cadets to play the Central and Northern air cadets at Ohakea in rugby. We flew up in a Bristol Freighter.

Fast-forward to today and GSH Stirling’s role is to assist training that happens at the range and make sure everything is done in a safe manner. “I love my job, being in an outdoors environment and of course I’m right next to the sea. Whenever I get the chance I call and let people know I’m going for Physical Training and head 9km one-way and 9km the other way. All the fresh air is great. “A lot of new safety rules have come in around the workplace, so I make sure those are all being followed.” A celebration of GSH Stirling’s career was held recently at Base Ohakea’s Tūrangawaewae. He was also given a letter of recognition from the Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark, which thanked him for his service. “Throughout your career with the RNZAF and NZ Army, you are well known for your courage, commitment, comradeship, integrity and forthrightness and I, on behalf of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, appreciate your passion and dedication,” the letter said. “I thank you for your outstanding service over the 50 years and wish you the very best for future endeavours.”

# FAC E S O F YO U R FO R C E  |

PHOTO Tracy Sexton

AIR FORCE NEWS #230  | 25


Engineering a lifestyle B Y


Seeking a path to aeronautical engineering led Flying Officer Jena Scott to a career in the Air Force. She has progressed her career by taking on a number of roles and recently topped the challenging General Engineering Officer Training course.


oining Air Cadets during high school was the catalyst for Flying Officer (FGOFF) Scott to consider a career in the Air Force, but before enlisting, she completed a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Canterbury.

The work was challenging in that we used a number of tools to develop solutions, from engineering calculations and design principles, textbooks and manuals through to recommendations from the technicians based on previous experience,” she said.

“Maths and science were my strong suit – at school they were the areas I excelled at and found interesting, and I looked toward engineering due to its focus on logic and problem solving.

For most of this year, the 25-year-old has tackled the demanding General Engineering Officer Training. The ninemonth course was extended a month thanks to the Covid lockdown, but she stayed focussed and topped the class, winning the prestigious WGCDR (rtd) John ‘Jack’ Hardy Memorial Trophy.

“I was interested in aeronautical engineering because it was a bit different, it was something that was a challenge and it seemed more interesting to work on planes than it did to work on anything on the ground. It is a field where there are a lot of opportunities.” The opportunities presented themselves after FGOFF Scott finished the Initial Officer Training Course and moved to Base Auckland to the Maintenance Support Squadron, where she worked alongside flight commanders and technicians. She consolidated her training for the next two years doing structural engineering on all the Air Force fleets, mostly designing repairs for the P-3K2 Orion and the C-130 Hercules. “The technicians would come to us when they had damage they needed to repair that weren’t covered in the technical publications, or had new modifications to design.

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The award is presented to the Engineering Officer student who achieves the highest academic result over the duration of the course. The seven modules making up the course covered a number of topics, including aerodynamics, aeronautical powerplant systems, electrical and avionics systems, weight and balance and aircraft structures. “The last module was the fusion phase, which was definitely the most beneficial part of the course. It was two weeks of being an acting flight commander for a notional maintenance flight. “We were given a chart of all the technicians in our teams and the airframes we worked on were Seasprites. Scenarios were put to us that would come up in that job, ranging from engineering issues on our aircraft to personnel issues within our teams, and we ran through those scenarios for two weeks,” she said.

One of the biggest advantages of joining the Air Force was the wide variety of roles available, FGOFF Scott said. “If you go from university into a civil engineering or design role for example, you might design a very specific part of a building support time after time. Whereas almost any role that we go into as Engineering Officers, there is a mixture of engineering and personnel management, not to mention the wider duties of a military officer, which means you’re going to get something different every day. “There are a huge variety of elements to the engineering trade itself, let alone the training opportunities and the travel opportunities.” FGOFF Scott has just taken on a new role at Base Ohakea as the flight commander of the Armament and Safety and Surface Flight in the Maintenance Support Squadron. “I’m really looking forward to it. It was a job that I applied for largely because it was a job that was completely different to my last job. I went from doing structural engineering where I was crunching numbers to solve engineering problems, and now I’m moving into a role where I’m managing a team which brings its own new set of challenges.”


“It’s a great organisation to work for in that it’s very people-focussed. It’s a lifestyle, not just a job. When I heard that I thought that was such a massive cliché, but it’s true.”

AIR FORCE NEWS #230  | 27

|  C O M M U N I C AT I O N S

Small team makes big difference for the P-3K2 B Y


Our P-3K2 Orion aircraft and crew operate all around the world, thousands of kilometres away from New Zealand, but they are not alone. Throughout the mission, they are in constant communication with ground-based support units exchanging information in real-time to maintain situational awareness which enables the effective decision-making that keeps our people safe.

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p until now, this data exchange has been achieved using aging technology with limited transfer speeds. This year has seen the first P-3K2 undergo an upgrade to the on board Commercial Satellite Communications equipment, which has increased theoretical through-put by more than six times. An upgrade like this is never straight forward to achieve. It takes teams from within multiple Air Force trades and contractors many hours to conduct the appropriate design, sourcing, trials, testing and inevitable implementation. All trades in the Air Force enjoy a good problem to solve and the team from the Engineering and Production Cell (EPC) within 230 (Mission Support) Squadron at Base Auckland is no exception. EPC is a smaller unit with a big future ahead of them. It is made up of a number of Communication Information System (CIS) technicians and a CIS officer.

EPC’s role was one of many contributors to the final overall design, and this story is about how they overcame the unique challenges presented to them with their piece of the puzzle. Before this upgrade could take place, each component of the networking equipment, both the equipment to be installed on the aircraft and the ground network equipment, needed to be tested to ensure it could perform functions at the required standard. The first step was to create a test network simulating the proposed network architecture from ground side through to the aircraft and thus the concept was proven and the upgrade could proceed. The skills CIS technicians have ensured they were seamlessly able to configure the new ground equipment and be confident submitting their work for a rigorous security assessment. New Zealand’s geographical separation does not provide protection from cyber-attacks as the world has become increasingly interconnected.

C O M M U N I C AT I O N S   |

“It is always true that the most rewarding experience is that first successful end to end test of a new system.”

Cyber-attacks can cause disruption and create confusion. Because of this, defending NZDF networks from cyber threats is a fundamental focus for CIS officers and technicians. Therefore our security processes begin even before the equipment is connected. Once the security assessment work was completed, and all recommendations applied, the new ground equipment could finally be installed providing network connectivity ready for testing with the aircraft. Concurrently with this process the first P-3K2 Orion was also being fitted with the new Commercial Satellite Communications equipment at Base Woodbourne. Even here CIS technicians were applying their expertise to assist with the aircraft equipment configuration. This was done using a combination of earlier test results and drawing upon numerous training fundamentals routinely used with computer networking. Even in a complex process like this it is, as always, those ‘layer one’ or the physical layer challenges that can quickly stop progress.

The CIS technician onsite was able to identify a defective cable between two devices on the aircraft as not passing data. One new cable later, kindly manufactured and installed by Airbus, saw testing continued. Our training teaches the importance of testing in a methodical staged approach confirming connectivity between each device. As this was the first aircraft to undergo the upgrade, numerous quirky problems were identified including cable pinouts, browser compatibility for device management interface, and engineering the connection to the satellite provider. As each step in the network was tested, it was then time to connect the aircraft back into the Defence Information Environment (DIE). Security and compliance is key for us, so a number of processes were completed before requesting approval to connect into the DIE. These included a system design review, static code review, risk assessment and risk management plan.

Given the amount of planning, preparation and effort by the numerous CIS technicians and officer involved, there were numerous cheers and celebrations after the first packets of data were successfully exchanged between the P-3K2 Orion and ground network. This example goes to show the versatility in a CIS technician’s role. They are often found by a radio and/ or computer in a communications centre which can be a building, tent, or vehicle with the end station/aircraft thousands of kilometres away. The opportunity within the Air Force CIS trade to get hands on with the networking equipment and engineer communications from both ends of the circuit, ground to aircraft, makes for a great day in the office any day of the week.

AIR FORCE NEWS #230  | 29


Youth Development Trade in Full Swing B Y


The establishment of the Youth Development Specialist (YDS) Trade has been a focus for Defence Reserves, Youth and Sport in 2020. The YDS Trade sees previous trades of Youth Development Instructor and Cadet Force Advisors combined to create an overarching trade for Youth Development.

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he YDS trade directly contributes to the New Zealand Cadet Forces, Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) programme, Youth Life Skills (Service Academies) and community support programmes such as Blue Light. Corporal (CPL) Reghan Da Silva joined the Air Force in 2008 as an Aircraft Technician. Following six years out of uniform as a teacher, she re-enlisted as a YDS late last year. She wanted to combine both her previous Air Force experience and her teaching experience into one and working for the Youth Development Unit seemed like a win-win. “The basic course solidified my decision, the philosophy taught there aligned with what I had learned about working with young people as a teacher. “I enjoy working with young people, and having a job that makes a positive difference is really important to me. Even if I make a change for the better in one trainee’s life, then I think that it is worth it,” said CPL Da Silva.

CPL Da Silva said working as a YDS is rewarding and her favourite part of the job is the evening work. “I love doing the night routine with trainees because that’s the time that you get to know them as people. I enjoy chatting to them and talking to them about the course, I think that is when you build relationships and trust,” she said. CPL Da Silva is working towards her certificate in youth work through career force and is looking forward to bringing some of her teaching experience to the YDU. The Youth Development Unit’s (North, Central and South) and Cadet Forces combined across the country deliver a wide range of courses to more than 6,000 youth per year.


Veterans’ Affairs offering flexible support

Thanks to changes to the Veterans’ Support Act 2014, Veterans’ Affairs can offer more flexible support to veterans and their whānau. The changes address a number of recommendations included in the 2018 Paterson Report. Support for veterans

Support for families

End of life support

Previously veterans lost eligibility for support if their injury or illness resulted from criminal behaviour or substance abuse. Now, where there is evidence of a link between service-related trauma and criminal or self-destructive behaviours, such as a veteran injuring themselves during a mental health episode triggered by post-traumatic stress, Veterans’ Affairs can recognise that in decision making. This applies to injuries, illness, or death which occurred when a veteran was committing a minor offence while enlisted or after they have left service.

Counselling can now be funded for veterans’ whānau, support people, and caregivers where it will support the veteran’s wellbeing. The definition of a child of a veteran has been extended to include all circumstances in which a veteran becomes a guardian of or acts as a parent to a child. This includes whāngai, grandchildren, children of former spouses and partners, and any child that a veteran has acted as a parent towards. Any entitlements, such as the Children’s Pension, received by a veteran’s whānau will not be affected if a veteran is imprisoned.

It is now easier for surviving spouses or partners to access pensions and be reimbursed for funeral expenses when a veteran dies as they only need to show that the veteran had Qualifying Operational Service. Veterans’ Independence Programme services can now continue for the spouse or partner of a veteran for 12 months after a veteran goes into long-term residential care. A standard grace period of 28 days following the death of a veteran now applies to all pensions to minimise the chances of their whānau going into debt.

Veterans with urgent mental health needs can receive support funded by Veterans’ Affairs before their eligibility for coverage has been established. Treatment and rehabilitation services already underway can continue to be provided to veterans if they are imprisoned.

The Children’s Bursary, which is available to the children of veterans who served before 1974 or in Vietnam, has been extended to cover those who live overseas. It now also covers a wider range of education and vocational training. The five-year restriction on child care assistance has also been removed and funding for child care can now continue until the child reaches the age of 14.

To find out more and to check your eligibility, visit the Veterans’ Affairs website –

AIR FORCE NEWS #230  | 31


Environmental design supporting Op Respect Improved pedestrian lighting around carparks and mess and accommodation blocks will improve safety for personnel at Ohakea.


efence Estate and Infrastructure’s Estate Delivery Managers (EDMs) have been asked to set aside $100,000 from their minor new works budgets to undertake safety improvements to support Op Respect at their camp or base using the principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). This is in addition to funding already allocated for upgrades this year. CPTED uses good design to create naturally safer environments that reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. Defence Estate and Infrastructure (DEI) commissioned a CPTED report on the future designs of barracks and messes as part of its long-term Accommodation Messing and Dining Modernisation (AMDM) Programme. Linton Camp will be the first site to test any new future designs. Clear pedestrian networks between key locations with good lighting and good signage are key elements of good environmental design. Glass doors allowing visibility into meeting rooms, bike parking rooms, laundries and cleaning rooms can also help improve safety as can windows in stairwells in barracks buildings. 32 |  AIR FORCE NEWS #230

“While the review was positive about the long term plans for the proposed new accommodation and messing areas under the AMDM programme, it also recommended some improvements,” DEI Director Strategic Programmes, Tracy Carlin, says. “As well as incorporating these recommendations into our design, we wanted to use the findings of this report and the principles of CPTED to improve safety now. By making some relatively small changes we are able to provide big benefits for personnel. Good environmental design is a way we can further support Op Respect,” she said. For the Air Force this means improved lighting at Ohakea and upgrading ablution blocks at Woodbourne to make them Op Respect compliant. Russell Sowden, EDM at Base Ohakea, says upgraded lighting will give personnel a better sense of security at night. “We will be improving the lighting around carparks, including the gym carpark, and around the combined mess accommodation blocks F, D, C and A, and along the path between K block and Headquarters.

“Ensuring we have good lighting in high foot traffic areas can only make our personnel feel safer. It’s a very easy and cost effective thing to do.” Op Respect Programme manager Tanya Coleman said the design minimises opportunities for crime and created safe spaces for everyone. Whenuapai EDM Bahjet Al-Khudairi says after talking to personnel at the base, they will be upgrading ablution blocks and changing facilities to provide more privacy and to bring them in line with Op Respect. DEI has been making improvements to ablution blocks and barracks to support Op Respect since it was launched in 2016. DEI completed a review of ablution blocks at the time to identify where safety and privacy could be improved. Simple measures have included making sure unisex toilet and shower facilities have floor to ceiling partition walls, removing urinals from unisex bathrooms, replacing glass doors that could be seen through and adding doors to common entrance ways. ABOVE Improved lighting at Linton Camp

N O T I C E S  |

Notices INNOVATION CHALLENGE 2021 Following the success of this year’s Innovation Challenge, submissions for Innovation 21 will be open from late November 2020 through to early April 2021, with the Dragons’ Den taking place in late May (dates TBC). The realisation of your good ideas can result in significant benefits to the RNZAF; be they efficiency, cost savings or enhanced productivity. Next year’s challenge is Sustainability. This could range from protection and enhancement of our natural environment, whether by reducing waste, carbon emissions, and/or our reliance on fossil fuels. Are you up for the challenge? Further details of Innovation Challenge 21 will be released in the December issue of the Air Force News.

AIRMAN CADET CLASS OF 1970 50TH REUNION  50th Reunion (Covid-19 delayed) for 27th Intake RNZAF Airman Cadets. We are planning a get together in Blenheim on the weekend of Feburary 19-21, 2021 February 19 Dinner at RNZAF Base Woodbourne  February 20 Gather at the Clubs of Marlborough  Visit to Omaka and/or vineyards  Dinner and refreshments February 21 Visit to RNZAF Base Woodbourne

BOY ENTRANT CLASS OF 1961 60th Reunion for 17 Course RNZAF Boy Entrants The anniversary will fall in January 2021. If any K, J and L Flights are interested in joining M Flight in celebrating this occasion in February 2021 at the Marlbourough Club Blenheim and Base Woodbourne, contact Ralph Brunsdon at


Invitation is extended to any Staff from 1970 also.

Find a great range of unique and exclusively designed gifts for friends and family (or yourself!), including the latest t-shirt design.

Contact Brian Graham (Guntha) at:

Browse the full colour range here:

NEW ZEALAND SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES The next selection for the New Zealand  Special Air Service is in February 2021 Nominations open from 16 October – 4 December 2020. For more information or to submit your application, visit the SOF intranet page (http://org/nzsof/LP/Recruiting.aspx) or email


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“Exercise Wero is a day designed to challenge each and every airman both mentally and physically early on in their basic training. Getting close to the action with our cameras and freezing these testing moments can sometimes be the key to capturing this sheer determination these recruits experience to work as a team and keep on going.”

AIR FORCE NEWS #230  | 35

WE T N A W R U O Y N O I S PAS Be part of the New Zealand Defence Force There are over 109 roles available including IT, communications, engineering, logistics, aviation, medicine, and emergency response. Some roles require a degree and some don’t. We also have university and graduate scholarships available. 08001FORCE

Profile for New Zealand Defence Force

Royal New Zealand Air Force | Air Force News - Issue 230, November 2020  

Air Force News is a monthly magazine that strives to inform its readers about the latest news from the Royal New Zealand Air Force. It cover...

Royal New Zealand Air Force | Air Force News - Issue 230, November 2020  

Air Force News is a monthly magazine that strives to inform its readers about the latest news from the Royal New Zealand Air Force. It cover...

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