Aussie, French and Kiwi Troops Train in New Caledonia

The three FRANZ nations kicked off Exercise Tagata Toa 2022 last week in Kanaky New Caledonia. Throughout the exercise, the combined force will train and rehearse for a wide variety of regional contingency scenarios, ranging from disaster relief to company-level combat operations. 

Members of 6 RAR disembark a French Air and Space Force Super Puma. (FANC via Facebook)

Organised by the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) the exercise includes members of the Pacific Islands Regiment – New Caledonia (RIMaP-NC), as well as platoon sized elements of both the New Zealand Army and 6th Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR).

While the exercise has a focus on the combat side of things, a FANC press release notes that its purview extends beyond it. 

“It [the exercise] cements the FANC’s willingness to cooperate with regional partner forces [at both the tactical and operational level]. [Including] in emergency operations in disaster-affected populations.”

Earlier this year troops from all three countries, as well as Fiji, contributed to Operation Tonga Assist which delivered immediate relief to the people of Tonga. The disaster relief efforts followed the devastating Hunga Ha’apai eruption and tsunami.

According to the FANC, the exercise is “inspired” by “recent operational commitments” with the participation of Airforce and Navy assets aimed at making the scenario “as close as possible to the reality of an operational commitment.” 

Two members of the FANC talk to a member of 6 RAR aboard a Super Puma. (FANC via Facebook)

Precise details of the scenario have not been released. Imagery published by the FANC, however, shows joint patrols in vehicles and on foot, as well insertions via helicopter.