The Royal Australian Air Force in New Caledonia’sky [fr]

From November 13th to November 24th 2017, the exercise Mhanuu took place in New Caledonia. Focused on aerial operations and organised by the Armed Forces In New Caledonia, this exercise mobilises each year all the personel from the Air Army’s aerial base 186 (La Tontouta airport). It mobilises as well its Puma helicopters and some CN Casa transport aircrafts.

The 2017 edition can be considered as a turning point for the Manhuu exercise, with the first participation of a Royal Australian Air Force detachment, made up of 40 airmen and armed by a C27J transport aircraft.

This two weeks of intensive training enabled to exercise the interoperability between French and Australian air forces in numerous fields. Amongst them was common operations managements and planning, training of aerial medicalised team’s evacuations, implementation of protection forces, sharing of aerial transit procedures, interactions between aircrafts flight crews.

JPEG ©CPL Freeman, RAAF 28 SQN

In that frame, numerous common trainings were organised, notably in the Northern territory, on the Koumac airfield.


The commandment and operations leading of the aerial operations from the aerial base Nouméa-Tontouta represented a major part of this exercise: French and Australians aviators worked together inside the ad hoc structure implemented for the exercise: The Joint Forces Air Component Command. A JFACC is in charge of planning and conducting an aerial manoeuvre each time than a high scale military operation is fully engaged.

JPEG ©état-major des armées

Concerning Mhanuu exercise, the main purpose was for Australians and French to train together to conduct aerial operations in the most realistic possible way. Efforts were axed on the ability to jointly conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions. Those missions are essential in the Souh Pacific for both countries.

JPEG ©CPL Freeman, RAAF 28 SQN

Indeed, the FRANZ agreements (France, Australia and New Zealand) commit our respective countries to propose military assistance to insulars countries in the region in the case of a natural disaster. This year was the 25th birthday of those agreements, still regularly activated and affording affected populations to be rescued and assisted. It was notably the case in 2016 for the benefit of Fiji island, or in 2017 during the passage of the cyclone Donna, or during the eruption of the Ambaé volcan in Vanauatu this year.

JPEG ©CPL Freeman, RAAF 28 SQN

’The 2017 Mhanuu exercise successfully fulfilled its training goals”; emphasises the colonel Dominique Tardif, commander of the aerial base 186. The first purpose of this exercise was to increase mutual knowledge between Australiana and French pilots. But it also enabled to start a new working group aiming to harmonise our respective procedures. On a long term basis, it will afford to carry on the current interoperability effort between our respective Air armies.’

JPEG ©CPL Freeman, RAAF 28 SQN

The interoperability is the capacity for multiple actors to engage diverse materials, armed by militaries with different cultures and employment standards so as to lead conjoint operations. In the case of a multinational engagement, interoperability consists in the bedrock of operational efficiency. Beyond purely technical exchanges, it is nurtured by interpersonal relationships and cultural exchanges created during this type of exercises. Those exchanges aim to improve mutual knowledge and cement trust between different armed forces from different nations. It is a requirement for an efficient operability when it is necessary to be engaged for the benefit of affected populations.

After this successful 2017 Mhannu edition, all eyes are now turned on the next year

JPEG ©CPL Freeman, RAAF 28 SQN

Dernière modification : 21/12/2017

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