RAAF air-drops essential supplies to Mawson Station

Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Army personnel combined forces to resupply the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) from the air, dropping about 15 tonnes of essential supplies for the winter.

CAPTION: No. 36 Squadron Loadmaster Corporal Deon Jones watches as palletised cargo rolls off the ramp of a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III during an airdrop of supplies to Mawson Research Station, Antarctica. Story by Major Jesse Robilliard. Photo by Petty Officer Bradley Darvill.

A RAAF C-17A Globemaster III departed Perth Airport and was refuelled mid-air by a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport over the Southern Ocean before delivering its much-needed payload to the Mawson Research Station via parachutes on 22 May.

Flight Lieutenant Nicholas Power, 36 Squadron, said infrequent air-drop tasks to Antarctica were a highlight.

“These missions are really special ones for us,” Flight Lieutenant Power said.

“It allows us to test all our capabilities and bring together airdrop and air-to-air refuelling into one mission set.

“It’s really beneficial to demonstrate our training.

“With the C-17 – a global strategic air-lift platform – we’re capable of delivering a variety of stores around the world, and it really opens up with that air-to-air refuelling for extended-range operations.”

AAD requested support from the ADF after it was unable to receive all its required stores for winter via sea.

Before the C-17 departed from Perth for Mawson Research Station, it was loaded at Hobart Airport by the Army specialists.

Corporal Kiara Parks, 176 Air Dispatch Squadron, said the load contained a wide variety of items.

“We’re sending everything – mechanical and electrical supplies, food and personal cargo that they weren’t able to take with them initially to go down,” Corporal Parks said.

“We are sending a lot of different stuff, a lot of different items that we’ve never packed before.

“It is essential that we actually get these stores down to Mawson because this is critical cargo that they actually need for the winter period.”

The resupply mission to Mawson was part of Operation Southern Discovery, the ADF’s contribution to the whole-of-government Australian Antarctic Program.

Commander of Operation Southern Discovery Wing Commander Nicholas Fairweather said the round trip to Mawson was more than 10,000km.







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Posted by Brian Hartigan

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