TODAY |

Public warned to expect 'uncommon sights' as military helicopters fire flares in training exercise

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) is warning the public they may see some "uncommon sights" across central North Island over the next two weeks with helicopters firing flares and carrying around artillery as part of a military training exercise.

Nh90 SPS trials in the Waiouru Training Area, flare release and smoke. Source: Supplied

According to the RNZAF, exercise Steel Talon is designed to train helicopter crews in tactical battlefield operations.

"No. 3 Squadron from RNZAF Base Ohakea will be working alongside units from the New Zealand Army to test itself in various scenarios that would be found during combat operations," RNZAF says in a statement on the training.

"The exercise started this week and runs until 19 June. The squadron will test tactical flying capability, gunnery skills, air lift and transport tasks, and supporting soldiers as they test their own battle skills."

The exercise will involve three NH90s carrying three underslung L105 Howitzer guns from an airfield outside Hunterville to Waiouru Military Training Area, RNZAF says.

As well as operational and training support for the New Zealand Army, including air transport, special operations and aeromedical evacuation, No. 3 Squadron also provides helicopter and conversion training for pilots and air crew.

It also conducts search and rescue missions, and supports and assists NZ Police and other Government agencies.