Alam Halfa a testing ground

Soldiers from Linton Military Camp have joined hundreds of military personnel from around the country to put themselves and their equipment to the test in gruelling battle simulations.

The Defence Force is using one of its largest exercises, Alam Halfa, as a testing ground for soldiers and new kit.

More than 600 soldiers and 60 officers are being tested on the military training ground in Waiouru for the exercise.

It has been compared to "bringing a variety of rugby franchises together to make a Barbarians team" by Lieutenant Colonel Sholto Stephens, Commanding Officer of Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles and Commander for Exercise Alam Halfa.

The list of tasks is extensive. Troops and equipment will be put through their paces in battle simulations that test agility and capability in lifelike scenarios.

The exercise is being watched by international observers from the United States Marines and US Army who meet with command each day and advise on what could be done better. "We can all learn from each other and they are in a good position to be able to advise us on how to do things better."

The exercise moves to Hawke's Bay this week and continues till the end of the month.

Manawatu Standard