Extract from the report of the Naval Board of the Defence Council for period 1 April 1978 to 31 March 1979
In October 1978 the Governor-General opened the Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum at Waiouru. Financed by non-public funds, and mostly constructed by the Army itself, the museum reflects well on the Army and its esprit de corps. But it is more than that. It represents a major contribution to the preservation of our history. It will stand as a memorial to all the many thousands of New Zealanders who have died in war. In this sense the museum is a powerful reminder of the dangers this country has faced before; dangers which were sometimes only belatedly perceived and for which we were inadequately prepared.
The lesson is no less relevant in today’s world. The international situation is fluid, there are strongly conflicting interests, and the sophistication of military technology grows apace. Little is constant, as shown by recent dramatic developments in Iran and Indo-China. It was therefore timely that, following lengthy and careful study, the Government published in November 1978 the findings of a major Defence Review. The first for a number of years, the review examined the significant changes which have taken place during this decade in New Zealand’s strategic position and, in the light of our perceived national interests and capacity, laid down guidelines and policy objectives to meet the challenges of the 1980s.
It was the major conclusion of the 1978 Defence Review that New Zealand will maintain three armed services capable, as a first priority, of securing national interests and the integrity of our own area, including the exclusive economic zone. The review makes it clear that we must look after our own concerns and not leave them to others. It focuses on the New Zealand role in the wider South Pacific region. Although there is no present threat to the area, it is clear that the scene is changing. New Zealand wishes to co-operate with friends in the area in facing up to such changes. At the same time we wish to continue to promote stability in the wider regional security relationships we share with Australia and the United States in ANZUS. We attach particular importance to close defence ties with Australia; the two countries form a single strategic area and this fact must be the very foundation of New Zealand’s defence policies. New Zealand, although isolated, does not stand alone. To attempt to do so would be difficult and dangerous for a country of our size and character. It would also be inconsistent with our national interests and the fundamental threads of our history. But because we share so much that is important to us with our partners, we must be willing to continue to contribute our part to the collective interest. There is no “free ride” in international affairs.
The Defence Review indicated the need for some changes in each of the three services. A start has been made already by the introduction of a regional Army command in place of a functional two-command system. There will be a single Land Force headquarters at Auckland (Takapuna) and three Task Force Regions with headquarters at Papakura, Palmerston North, and Christchurch respectively, as well as Army Training Group, Waiouru. In the Navy and Air Force, studies relating to the upgrading or replacement of important capital equipments are already well advanced. All three services continue to maintain a capacity to deploy suitable forces for a range of circumstances from low intensity military operations to assistance after natural disasters.
In terms of manpower, the armed forces have had fewer problems in the last year, except in certain advanced technical fields. Recruiting has been buoyant in all three services. Nevertheless, the Government is conscious of the need to encourage retention of existing personnel, whose training to appropriate levels has taken so much time and expense. Significant advances have been made in conditions of service since this Government took office three and a half years ago. The Armed Forces Pay Review completed and implemented in 1978, has brought important advances and established firm benchmarks between service pay and that of others in the public sector. No longer will the Defence Forces lag behind. Housing and furniture loans are now available to our armed forces personnel after suitable qualifying periods of service. A new engagement policy has been introduced to allow servicemen and women greater flexibility in fixing their terms of service. Women now have access to all roles in the armed forces except those involving direct preparation for combat duty.
The Government has also taken steps to alleviate deficiencies in social facilities at Waiouru. The report of a one-man Commission of Inquiry, published in October 1978, comprehensively reviews the many difficulties facing those who live at the camp. The Government has accepted the report which will now serve as a guideline for development and improvements in the area.
Our defence policy calls for a New Zealand role, upheld by New Zealanders for New Zealanders. The personnel of our armed forces are well trained. They must be, for defence is a serious business with no margin for error or slipshod ways. I believe that New Zealanders can be proud of the way in which members of the armed forces have maintained high professional standards in the face of the inevitable pressures imposed by our small size, and the need for economic restraint. Defence activities in peacetime provide a wide range of support for the community at large. At the same time the training that is needed permits us to maintain full military credibility and thus the means by which we minimise the risks of threats developing against our future national security and interests.
T. F. GILL.
The 1978 Defence Review concluded that New Zealand would remain committed to the maintenance of modern defence forces of the three services. Such forces, although necessarily small, will give New Zealand the ability to control its own area, including the EEZ, to operate in the South Pacific, in association with our partners in the region, and beyond that to make an effective New Zealand contribution to the wider strategic interests we share in the Pacific Basin with Australia and the United States. To be effective such New Zealand forces will require continuing upgrading of and amendments to, equipment, the maintenance of comprehensive training programmes, designed to uphold high levels of professionalism, and constant attention to matters bearing on morale and retention of trained personnel. The review recognises that present economic circumstances and the high cost of defence will not make it easy to make the necessary provision for defence. At the same time, it acknowledges that in an uncertain world it would not be possible for New Zealand to do less.
INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE RELATIONSHIPS
The Defence Review noted that the strategic situation of New Zealand had changed and is changing further. In such circumstances the close relationships New Zealand has with Australia across the full range of defence activities are fundamental; the extension of these links into the ANZUS alliance with the United States provides the framework for our broad strategic posture. In the new situation ANZUS is clearly of heightened vitality and importance. New Zealand has accordingly reaffirmed in the Defence Review the obligation to maintain forces capable of operating alongside those of its ANZUS partners. This role has been upheld during the year through the participation of New Zealand units and defence personnel in ANZUS military exercises and training activities.
This aspect of alliance relationships was recognised at the 27th annual meeting of the ANZUS Council held in Washington in June 1978. In their communique ministers recognised the value of practical defence cooperation and in particular the importance of developing the individual and collective capacity of ANZUS members to resist armed attack. Ministers also noted the importance of supply and support arrangements within the alliance which would facilitate the expansion of New Zealand and Australian forces should the situation so require.
Defence Co-operation with Australia
Since the two Prime Ministers gave renewed impetus to the programme of defence collaboration between the two countries at their meeting in March 1976, the relationship has developed and expanded in a number of ways. Practical collaboration in joint exercises and training has in particular been enhanced by new and more flexible procedures of administration. A simplified cost offset system has now been agreed between the two Ministries of Defence.
Australia and New Zealand ministers of defence met in Wellington in August 1978 and, in their communique, noted the concern of both governments, within the wider context of the ANZUS alliance, to develop the greatest practicable degree of self-reliance and to provide for the security of the Australia – New Zealand area including its maritime environs. They agreed that there was a need to envisage the development of defence force capabilities appropriate to the performance of military tasks of common concern as well as to the requirements of each country in keeping with its national defence policies.
The Australia – New Zealand Defence Consultative Committee, comprising the senior military and civilian defence advisers, and the Defence Policy Group, established to assist the committee, also met during the year and made further progress towards intensifying cooperation in such fields as joint planning and doctrine, standardisation and rationalisation of equipment, logistic planning, operations, research, and defence production. There were also further meetings of a working group of officials on defence supply co-operation.
Five Power Arrangements
The Defence Review recognises that the Five Power Defence Arrangements still provide a framework for consultation and co-operation between New Zealand and Australia, Britain, Malaysia, and Singapore. The two South-east Asian countries have, of course, since that time considerably increased their own effective defence capabilities. Although the Five Power Arrangements are in this sense transitional they continue to provide for a most useful pattern of defence co-operation. This in turn reflects the continuing importance attached by New Zealand to stability in that region.
New Zealand Force South-east Asia, comprising an infantry battalion and an RNZAF support unit, continues to be stationed in Singapore. New Zealand also participates in the Five Power Integrated Air Defence System. The Defence Review recognised that New Zealand can play a significant military part in the area and that the continuing presence of the force is a matter of mutual agreement between the Singapore and New Zealand Governments. During the year, however, New Zealand forces cooperated closely in exercises and other training activities with the armed forces of Malaysia and Singapore. This in turn is consistent with the broad objective of continuing to support the efforts of all ASEAN states to build their economic strength and self reliance.
Mutual Assistance Programme
Initiated in 1973, the Mutual Assistance Programme is a two-way concept: the aim is to promote co-operation between the defence forces of South Pacific and ASEAN countries and those of New Zealand. Under it, Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, and the ASEAN countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines) have developed exchange programmes for training exercises and visits-with New Zealand forces. Not only is training assistance provided for others in New Zealand, but New Zealand’s own forces are permitted in return to gain broader experience and deployment opportunities within the region.
Defence Co-operation with Nations in the South-west Pacific
During the year the Army again conducted six tropical training exercises in Fiji, involving more than 500 regular and territorial personnel. Of the exercises, three involved selected sub-units of the Field Force which trained in tropical close-country operations, while the others were extensions of courses conducted in New Zealand designed to enable participants to practice individual skills in a tropical environment. During these exercises Army personnel conducted a number of short training courses for members of the RFME. They also undertook several civic assistance tasks, including the construction of foot tracks, a small cattle yard, a concrete water tower, a mosquito eradication programme and the drainage and clearing of water sources in various villages, and the collection of blood samples for the Fiji health authorities.
In June, RNZAF Hercules aircraft from No. 40 Sqn and lroquois and Sioux helicopters from No. 3 Sqn deployed to Fiji for tropical operations and aircrew jungle survival training. During this deployment RNZAF helicopter support was made available for Fiji Government tasks such as aerial reconnaissance surveys and the delivery of materials to remote villages. New Zealand continues to provide an officer for the position of Ghief of Staff, RFMF, and an officer and two N.G.O.s for the Rural Development Unit and the Trade Training School. A third N.G.O. completed a 2-year tour of duty with the Rural Development Unit in December.
Two hundred and thirty-eight Fiji personnel undertook training in New Zealand in Army trade and staff courses, apprenticeships, and seaman training. A number of these took initial officer training, infantry platoon commander, radio operator, military police, driver, cook, and medical orderly courses prior to joining the Fiji Battalion currently serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). During the year three RNZN training teams visited Fiji for short periods to train members of the Fiji Naval Squadron. In May two RNZAF Hercules aircraft delivered supplies of clothing, sleeping bags, and ration packs to Fiji for use by the Fiji contingent to UNIFIL.
Thirty-four Tonga Defence Services personnel attended defence training courses in New Zealand. In addition, an officer of the TDS completed a 5-month training attachment to the RNZN. New Zealand provided an RNZN officer as Officer Commanding TDS Maritime Detachment until January when this position was filled by a Tongan officer. An Army N.C.a. continues to serve as a vehicle mechanic instructor with the TDS. A naval/dockyard team completed refits to both TDS patrol craft.
Papua New Guinea
Two New Zealand officers serve as instructors at the Joint Services College at Lae. The first member of the Papua New Guinea Defence Forces to train in New Zealand attended the RNZAF Senior Command and Staff College course in 1978.
Defence Co-operation with the ASEAN States
The Singapore Army staged a major brigade headquarters exercise involving more than 500 Singapore soldiers in the Waiouru-Turangi area in February-March. The exercise (THUNDER CLOUD) enabled two brigade headquarters, each coming to this country for about 2 weeks, to practice command and staff skills. The exercise was largely self-contained and only minor administrative support was provided by New Zealand. The Singapore Army transported their vehicles to New Zealand by three landing craft which made calls at various New Zealand ports. While in Auckland the Singapore personnel attended training courses run by the Naval Training Group. In conjunction with the exercise Singapore Armed Forces music and drama company, comprising more than 60 personnel, visited New Zealand and gave a number of concerts to the public and servicemen.
Four members of the Singapore Armed Forces attended training courses in New Zealand during the year. In addition, an RSAF pilot undertook a year’s service with the Skyhawk Squadron and an RNZAF engineer served with the RSAF. An RNZAF flying instructor completed his service with the RSAF in October.
Fifty-three Malaysian Armed Forces personnel took part in a variety of training courses in New Zealand. A New Zealand Army officer attended the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College. Under the interchange programme two RNZN officers, one of whom completed his service in December, served with the Royal Malaysian Navy. After completing a 2 year tour of duty with the RNZN, an RMN officer returned to Malaysia in October while a second RMN officer has a staff appointment in the Auckland naval command. An RMAF officer is currently serving at RNZAF Base Te Rapa. Two New Zealand Army officers are instructing at the Malaysian Army Jungle Warfare School.
Within the Five Power Integrated Air Defence System (lADS) New Zealand provides two staff officers for the headquarters at Butterworth, Malaysia. Skyhawk aircraft of No. 75 Squadron deployed to the area in August to take part in lADS combined exercises with Australian, Malaysian, and Singaporean forces. During the year RNZAF Support Unit, Singapore, also provided support flying for the Malaysian Armed Forces.
In March a 120-man contingent from 16 Royal Malay Rifles exercised with elements of 2/1 RNZIR in the South Island. This exercise (KRIS MERE 79) involved mechanised infantry training.
Following their visit to Malaysia in August, RNZAF Skyhawk aircraft from No. 75 Squadron visited Indonesia and, for the first time, exercised with Indonesian Air Force units. In November, HMNZS Canterbury took part with Indonesian naval aircraft, ships, and submarines in Exercise SELINDO n. The first Indonesian naval vessels to come to New Zealand visited Auckland in January; two of them exercised with HMNZS Waikato.
Ten Indonesian personnel trained in New Zealand and an Indonesian Army officer came down as an Indonesian language instructor for a period of 5 months. A New Zealand Army officer began the Indonesian Army Staff College course in March.
Five officers of the Royal Thai Armed Forces attended training courses during the year. They were the first Thai personnel to train in New Zealand under the Mutual Assistance Programme.
TRAINING AND OPERATIONS
The Exchange Programme
An exchange programme is needed to keep New Zealand’s forces abreast of military experience, tactical doctrine, operating procedures, and equipment development. The aim must be to enhance the flexibility and professionalism of New Zealand’s forces. With Australia, the United States, and Britain, relations are so close as to permit exchanges of a limited number of personnel to serve in designated posts and units. This helps impart specialist experience to selected New Zealand servicemen and brings added skills and experience from the allied officers who serve in New Zealand. In 1978 the number of exchange appointments rose from 16 to 17.
Military Exercises Navy
In April HMNZS Waikato participated in RIMPAC 78, a large maritime exercise held in Hawaiian waters. RNZAF Orion and Skyhawk aircraft from No. 5 and No. 75 Squadrons also took part together with naval and air units from the United States, Canada, and Australia. Following RIMPAC 78, HMNZS Waikato exercised with the Canadian Second Destroyer Squadron and then participated in the Captain Cook Bicentenary Celebrations held in British Columbia. In October HMNZS Waikato and HMNZS Otago together with RNZAF Orion and Skyhawk aircraft and visiting naval forces from Australia, Canada, and the United States, took part in LONGEX 78, a maritime exercise conducted in New Zealand waters. In January HMNZS Otago exercised with and escorted the nuclear submarine USS Haddo. Before joining units of the armed forces of the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and Canada in Exercise FLEETEX, a maritime exercise conducted in United States waters in August, HMNZS Otago underwent refresher training in Hawaiian waters under the guidance of the USN Fleet Training Group. In February HMNZS Otago exercised briefly with a French naval vessel in the Hauraki Gulf.
HMNZS Canterbury participated in anti-submarine warfare exercises in Australian waters in August and again in March. In October she took part in Exercise SANDGROPER, a maritime exercise involving surface and air units from Australia and the United States which was held off the western coast of Australia. In November HMNZS Canterbury proceeded to Indonesia and joined units of the Indonesian Navy in Exercise SELINDO 11.
During the year RNZN ships made calls at ports in Australia, the United States, and Canada, and visited Pago Pago, Suva, Apia, Tokelau, Honiara, Funafuti, Singapore, Surabaya, Port Moresby, and Noumea.
Routine Activities in the New Zealand Area and South Pacific
HMNZS Otago carried out three extended resource protection patrols, made a servicing visit to Raoul Island, and called at several New Zealand ports. HMNZS Waikato undertook a number of tasks on behalf of Government departments, including visits to Bounty Island, Campbell Island, the Antipodes, Snares, and Auckland Islands. Both HMNZS Waikato and HMNZS Canterbury attended the Waitangi Day celebrations. For most of the period under review HMNZS Taranaki was in refit. She was re-commissioned in January and underwent sea trials in February and March. HMNZS Monowai attended the Solomon Islands independence celebrations in July, while HMNZS Otago was present at the Tuvalu independence celebrations during which she provided accommodation for HRH Princess Margaret.
In addition to their specialised programmes of work described elsewhere in this report, both HMNZS Monowai and HMNZS Tui undertook servicing visits to Raoul Island.
The RNZN Operational Diving Team assisted the Police, other Government departments, and civil organisations on 19 occasions and finished mapping the Waitomo Cave system for the Ministry of Tourism. The RNZN carried groups from various Government departments and their stores to Raoul Island on four occasions and on another occasion evacuated a patient from that island to New Zealand. HMNZS Waikato provided transport for officers of the Departments of Internal Affairs, Lands and Survey, and the DSIR, who conducted wild life and magnetic surveys on Bounty and Antipodes Islands, the Snares, and Auckland Islands. HMNZS Waikato also carried huts to Antipodes Island and acted as a floating electoral office at Campbell Island during the general elections. The Army helped the Police Department on 114 occasions to render safe and dispose of various explosive devices. While in camp in the Chatham Islands in February, 6 Field Squadron substantially built or rebuilt three bridges and carried out a number of minor engineering tasks including quarrying, road maintenance, and bridge repair.
The RNZAF flew three medical evacuation flights from the Chatham Islands and made air supply flights to Raoul and Campbell Islands. Air transport for volcanic studies of White Island by the DSIR was given on three occasions and a number of flights were made in support of police operations.
Search and Rescue
The RNZAF flew a total of 503 hours in search and rescue operations; representing a considerable increase over the 410 hours recorded the previous year. Seventy-two people were located and flown to safety in 113 incidents. Three major searches were mounted without success for two light aircraft in the Westland/Fiordland area and for a Korean fishing vessel reported missing during Hurricane Meli in the waters between Fiji and Tonga. The RNZAF, in conjunction with the Army and the Police, provided SAR training assistance during the year in the form of flying demonstrations, lectures, and static displays to local SAR organisations. RNZN vessels participated in 14 SAR operations during the year involving missing vessels, five of which were towed into port. In addition HMNZS Waikato rescued a USN SH-3 Sea King helicopter as it was preparing to ditch in the sea after running out of fuel. HMNZS Waikato was also involved in the rescue of a seriously injured Russian seaman south of Campbell Island in extremely bad weather conditions. The Army took part in 20 SAR operations.
As its contribution to the management of New Zealand fishing resources the Ministry of Defence carries out surveillance and policing of foreign fishing activities out to the 200-mile limit of the exclusive economic zone. The Government has decided that this responsibility should continue to rest with the armed forces.
The four vessels of the Patrol Craft Squadron (HMNZS Rotoiti, Pukaki Taupo and Hawea) undertook these duties in the territorial sea and adjacent areas. The frigates were deployed for deeper water patrols. HMNZS Taranaki was re-commissioned in January and will now have the dual role of resource protection and basic sea training. RNZAF aircraft continued to provide regular and frequent reconnaissance of territorial and closed fishing areas and further off-shore. One hundred and thirty three courtesy and investigatory boardings were carried out by RNZN vessels and, as a result of one boarding, a: Korean trawler had its fishing license suspended for 2 months.
HMNZS Monowai began hydrographic survey duties on the New Zealand coast in April by undertaking a reconnaissance survey of the western approaches to Foveaux Strait in preparation for the main survey of this area to be conducted next year. In May HMNZS Monowai commenced a major survey in the western Bay of Plenty. DSIR personnel joined HMNZS Monowai and carried out oceanographic research work in conjunction with this survey. The modem equipment installed in HMNZS Monowai, together with an integrated computer-controlled survey system, have substantially increased the Navy’s capability for hydrographic survey.
During the year the survey motor launches HMNZS Takapu and Tarapunga completed a survey in the Tory Channel, a resurvey of the Firth of Thames, and examined the entrance to Whangateau Harbour. A detached survey party commenced a resurvey of Mercury Bay during HMNZS Monowai’s visit to the Solomons.
The Hydrographic Office published new charts of the entrance to Wellington Harbour of the area around Kawau Island/Whangaparaoa Peninsula, and two of a new series of charts of New Zealand and its offshore islands. Draft charts of the exclusive economic zones of the Cook Islands, Niue, and the Tokelaus were prepared. The metrication of charts from Wellington to Lyttelton was completed and the metrication of charts of the northern part of Cook Strait, the Firth of Thames, the Tory Channel, and the Chatham Islands is proceeding. The acquisition, of ocean sounding data by HMNZS Monowai and HMNZS Tui has greatly assisted the compilation of charts of the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone. A record total of 61 590 fully corrected charts and 6092 navigational books were issued for naval use or sold to the shipping industry or recreational users. Forty thousand copies of the Weekly Notices to Mariners and 1000 copies of an Annual Summary were published. A long range radio navigational warning service was provided for the South Pacific area.
During the year 319 personnel received basic training. A total of 4294 places for advanced or refresher course training were taken up during the year; 45 officers were also under training, two of whom graduated from university and a further three received the N.Z.C.E. In addition, 103 apprentices commenced 4-year indentured apprenticeships in the engineering branches in January. The large number of first year apprentices again stretched training facilities and accommodation to the limit. Sea training was held back until the re-commissioning of HMNZS Taranaki in the resource protection/training role in January; as a result there remains a large backlog of ratings requiring basic sea training. We are grateful that it has peen possible to make arrangements with Australia which will help to reduce these numbers. The pressure on shore accommodation will be alleviated once the new barrack block, currently under construction at HMNZS Tamaki, has been completed.
A fire in the Solartron operations training unit caused further upsets to training. The RAN was again able to help out by making it possible for RNZN trainees to use their operations trainer at HMAS Watson; the first group completed their course in Australia in March. New Solartron equipment is shortly to be installed.
As at 31 March 1979 the strength of the four RNZNVR divisions stood at 384, an increase from 347 a year earlier, and now just short of the current manpower ceiling. The RNZNVR was restructured in January to provide for the active participation of reservists in resource protection duties, and to continue to train young volunteers as a reserve against the need for increased operational effort in emergency. Certain posts in the Patrol Craft Squadron will be assigned to the RNZNVR once their manpower ceiling has been raised and a sufficient number of trained reservists are available to fill these places.
In April, 73 RNZNVR personnel participated in Exercise ROLL CALL, a major international naval control of shipping exercise. Three reservists were attached to the Australian and United States headquarters for this exercise, while their counterparts from the USN, RN, and regular personnel from the RAN served at various locations in New Zealand. The RNZNVR motor launches continued to provide afloat training for reservists and to exercise with RNZN units. Because of the age of these craft, however, their activities were limited to local waters.
Equipment and Supply Support
In 1977-78 the funds allocated to the capital equipment programme were fully expended under new procedures relating to forward commitments of expenditure and simplified administration. The construction by Whangarei Engineering and Construction Ltd. of a replacement diving tender for the RNZN is nearing completion and two inshore survey craft to replace HMNZS Takapu and Tarapunga are also being built by the same company.
Items procured during the year include radar equipment and workshop machinery for the Navy; a direct fire weapon simulator, engineer dump trucks, and assault boats for the Army; ground power units and elevating cargo trailers (both manufactured in New Zealand) for the RNZAF; and processing equipment for the Defence Scientific Establishment. Orders have been placed for a radar simulator and further replacement workshop machinery for the Navy; engineer bridging, armoured personnel carriers, light excavators, radios, and range finders for the Army; and a press brake and electronic test equipment for the RNZAF. During the year large contracts were let to local industries for building bus and truck bodies.
Under a logistic support arrangement which came into effect in January, spares for the RNZAF’s Andover and Strikemaster aircraft are now procured from the Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom (RAF). A similar arrangement for the provision of spares from United States Forces for items of equipment manufactured in that country has been in operation for several years. A contract for the servicing of Sioux helicopters was let to an Auckland company and similar arrangements for the servicing of Iroquois helicopters are to be made shortly. Twenty-six Harvard aircraft, 8 Bristol Freighters, and 5 Dakota aircraft were sold during the year.
Under the revised dress policy the progressive introduction of new style uniforms in improved materials is continuing. Each of the services has received some new items of clothing during the past year and further new articles will be phased in during the coming year. The ministry has taken steps during the year, in line with Government directives, to reduce petrol consumption by 10 percent; priorities are also being reallocated and activities reduced within the limits imposed by the need to maintain operational standards, to restrict usage of other fuels.
Major work was carried out by HMNZ Dockyard at Auckland to refit HMNZS Taranaki, including removal of Seacat missile systems and antisubmarine mortars and installation of accommodation for increased numbers of trainees. HMNZS Waikato had to be docked for 2 months and a normal refit to HMNZS Otago begn in March. Routine work and urgent maintenance were done on all four patrol craft and two Police launches were refitted. The first of two 10.5 metre survey launches to be built at the dockyard was completed in December and construction of the second launch is well advanced.
The Fleet Maintenance Unit, which provides first-line servicing and maintenance assistance to both ships and shore establishments, also helped service visiting ships of the navies of Australia, the United States, Singapore, and Indonesia during the year. Loan personnel from the RAN and staff recruited overseas have helped meet staff shortages in the Fleet Maintenance Unit, although the shortfall in engineering personnel remains a problem.
HMNZS lrirangi has maintained radio services to Australia, Honolulu, and Vancouver, and communication links with naval ships at sea while assisting with SAR communications.
The second Andover aircraft VIP conversion was completed in May 1978 by 1 Repair Depot, RNZAF Woodbourne. One VIP Andover has now been fitted with long-range tanks giving a capacity for VIP flights overseas. A similar modification was made to three other Andovers and will progressively be done to the rest of the Andover fleet.
An Improved Maintenance Programme (IMP) for Orion aircraft has now been in operation for more than a year. Results have been most satisfactory. There has been a 27 percent increase in aircraft availability and enhanced cost effectiveness; less time is now needed for routine maintenance and as a result savings during the year have been of the order of $330,000. Nevertheless, older aircraft will inevitably require increased maintenance and more work will have to be contracted to local industry in the future. At the same time, however, an IMP for Cl30 Hercules and Strikemaster aircraft has also been introduced and work on a similar programme for lroquois helicopters is now under way with the aim of holding costs.
The introduction of new high-frequency single-side band transmitters at all RNZAF bases has greatly improved medium and long-range communications with RNZAF aircraft; and the completion of the new Avionics Centre in Auckland in 1978 has resulted in a substantial improvement in working conditions for those personnel employed in this area.
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The Defence Scientific Establishment worked with Australian and United States scientific organisations in a number of major international studies in underwater acoustics and their applications. Measurement of the parameters bearing on performance of long-range sonar systems received particular attention. Several unusual features of the ambient noise spectrum which would influence modem surveillance systems were identified and their cause is being investigated. It was of great assistance that HMNZS Tui was available and able to work with the Australian naval research ship HMAS Diamantina. The two ships were used for sea tests in April-May and again in September; in February HMNZS Tui took part in a joint New Zealand/United States trial in the vicinity of Louisville ridge, east of New Zealand.
The DSE is currently developing prototype computer-based signal processing equipment for the RNZAF and has commenced work on a number of other projects on behalf of the services including investigations into automatic test equipment for the Army; development of electronic warfare and data link processing computer programmes for the RNZN, and examinations of other applications of micro processor and mini computer systems. Research in the metallurgical field has concentrated on the early detection of possible component failures in ship and aircraft engines, investigations into defence equipment malfunctions caused by fracture failures and corrosion, and the extension of the life of lubricants used in RNZN ships and RNZAF aircraft.
As noted in the 1978 Defence Review, efforts are being made to increase the range of items which can be produced from New Zealand’s industrial resources and to this end a major study of defence industrial policy, in cooperation with the Departments of Trade and Industry and Scientific and Industrial Research, by the DSE’s analytical studies team is nearing completion.