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Australian Defence Force members have demonstrated their commitment to supporting regional neighbours in need, as Exercise Croix du Sud in New Caledonia comes to an end.

Croix du Sud, which means "Southern Cross" in French, is a multinational military exercise organised every two years by the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia, with a scenario based on the devastating aftermath of a category four cyclone.

Around 200 Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force personnel were among members from 10 international defence forces contributing to the exercise, held from 25 August to 5 September, 2014.

Australian Army soldier Sergeant Wayne Mason adopts a defensive position while on patrol with French Armed Forces soldiers during a rehearsal drill at Champ de Bataille, New Caledonia.

The Commander of the Australian Contingent, Wing Commander Jim Xinos, said the realistic scenario gave international defence forces the chance to test their response to a real life disaster.

"We well know from Australian experience, cyclones can be quite devastating," he said.

"Exercise Croix du Sud allows us to come together as contributing nations and work towards providing assistance to a country in need.

"The likelihood of this type of event occurring in our region is quite high which is why we rehearse this scenario every couple of years."

Along with a headquarters element, sailors, soldiers and airmen across the wider Australian Defence Force contributed across all facets of the exercise.

Australian Navy members provided a Deployable Geospatial Survey Team to survey landing areas, while landing crafts HMA Ships Labuan and Tarakan facilitated troop and vehicle movements with support from HMNZS Canterbury.

Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, formed a rifle company to assist in providing security alongside French Armed Forces, New Zealand Army, Tonga Defence Services, British Army and US Marines personnel.

Royal Australian Air Force members provided airlift with a KA350 King Air, supporting air operations with the French Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Air Force.

WGCDR Xinos said he was proud of the efforts of his team, and appreciated the support provided by both the French Armed Forces and the people of New Caledonia.

"I've been extremely impressed with efforts of the Australian forces and the contribution they’ve made to Exercise Croix du Sud 2014," he said.

"My team and I are thankful for the hospitality we’ve received from both the host nation of New Caledonia, and the military forces involved."

The Australian Defence Force plans to support Exercise Croix du Sud when it is conducted in New Caledonia in 2016.


More imagery from Exercise Croix Du Sud 2014 »