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NZDF team back from Middle East mission

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/12/2016

The Royal New Zealand Air Force team that left in June to support coalition operations in the Middle East returned on Thursday from its six-month mission.

The RNZAF C-130 Hercules aircraft and its 32-member detachment clocked about 640 flying hours on 82 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is equivalent to completing nine round-the-world trips.

The team transported 771 tonnes of vital supplies and about 3200 military personnel while operating as part of an Australian Defence Force air mobility task group.

Squadron Leader Blair Oldershaw, the commander of the task unit, said the team's 85 flying hours per month was double that of similar operations conducted in New Zealand.

"The mission's success rate was over 96 per cent, which is phenomenal given the challenging environment in the Middle East," he said.

"It is a real tribute to our maintenance and support staff that we were able to achieve this level of success.".

The New Zealand Defence Force detachment included aircraft technicians, logistics specialists, maintenance personnel, and an air movements load team.

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