Formed as a Territorial squadron in 1930 at Christchurch, it became the first RNZAF unit to engage the Japanese in WWII. The squadron returned to Christchurch and disbanded in 1957.
3 Squadron reformed as a rotary wing unit at RNZAF Hobsonville in 1965 with UH-1 Iroquois and the Sioux for training. In 1966 the unit received the Wasp HAS.1, which it operated and maintained on behalf of the RNZN until 1977, when the Naval Support Flight (still within 3 Squadron, RNZAF) was formed and this continued the Wasp operations.
Between 1970 and 1997, a two UH-1 Huey SAR detachment was operated from Wigram, to provide SAR for the South Island and in support of the Army.
The SH-2F Seasprite replaced the Wasps of the Naval Support Flight between 1997 and 1998 as an interim measure, based at RNZAF Whenuapai from Jul 1998. The SH-2Fs began to be replaced by the SH-2G Seasprite in April 2001. The Utility Flight (with the UH-1) and the Training Flight (still with the Sioux) moved to RNZAF Ohakea in Jan 2002.
The unit has deployed extensively in the Pacific and operated worldwide in support of the New Zealand Defence Forces. Part of the squadrons tasking is as a Force Element in response to the NZDF Rotary Wing Transport Force; another part was to maximise the effectiveness of the RNZN through its Naval Support Flight, although this responsibility was handed over to 6 Sq in 2005.
In response to the Kaikoura Earthquake on 14 Nov 2016, 3 Squadron was busy. It despatched its first NH90 at 0546 local, followed by a second (c/s Warrior 08) at 0910. A-109s and at least two more NH90s left during the day.
The units NH90s were cleared for full shipboard operation (previously they could only be transported) in Dec 2016.
News of 3 Squadron
New Zealand Police SAR Exercise with NH90, 14-Feb-19 : #SearchAndRescue A RNZAF NH90 helicopter trained search and rescue (SAR) operations with the New Zealand Police at Turangi Airfield
Husband and Wife Share Military Mission Together, 21-May-18 : #family Wife and husband Nicole Brooke and Andrew Stewart are both NH90 pilots in the Royal New Zealand Air Force’ 3 Squadron. They now deployed together aboard HMNZS Canterbury
NH90 Supports New Zealand Earthquake Response, 13-Nov-16 : #eqnz Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) 3 Squadron NH90 dispatched to support emergency management after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit North Canterbury
|More News ...|
| 04-Apr-16 - New Zealand NH90 Supporting Fiji Relief Operations #CycloneWinston |
07-May-15 - Final Tour for Royal New Zealand Air Force Hueys
18-Dec-14 - RNZAF Helicopter Fleet Integrated in 3 Squadron
|14-nov-16||23-nov-16||Kaikoura Earthquake relief operations|