Supplies drop in

Members of 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion (3CSSB) and the Royal Australian Air Force teamed up to resupply Exercise Brolga Run via airdrop at the Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland.

CAPTIONA C-27J Spartan drops a pallet during Exercise Brolga Run near Townsville. Story by Captain Brittany Evans. Photos by TPR Dana Millington.

The further a unit moves away from its central supply hub, the more difficult it becomes to keep it adequately sustained.

The RAAF C-27J Spartan conducted two airdrop flights to deliver two pallets of 24-hour ration packs required by members of 3rd Brigade.

Extraction airdrops use a parachute deployed behind the aircraft to pull the load out before a separate cargo parachute slows the descent.

Platoon Commander 3CSSB Lieutenant William Mellor said airdrops enabled the delivery of supplies faster, avoiding threats that hinder other delivery methods.

“In an operational context, we are pushing the stores forward to an environment where the threat is increased,” Lieutenant Mellor said.

“Delivering supplies via truck would not be feasible, so in this circumstance we required an airdrop.”

CAPTIONA C-27J Spartan drops a pallet during Exercise Brolga Run near Townsville.

Lieutenant Mellor explained the tactical considerations that needed to be accounted for when an airdrop was conducted.

“Threat picture is a big one,” he said.

“We don’t want to spend too long in the drop locations.

“It is a very public action dropping a large number of supplies from the sky; the parachute and smoke leaves a signature.”

The environmental factors required for establishing a drop site include the ground being sighted and deemed suitable prior to an airdrop.

“It requires an area where the supplies can fall; it needs to be enough area so they can have a little bit of leeway,” Lieutenant Mellor said.

“It needs to be relatively clear, around 200 metres long and suitable for our vehicles to access.

“We don’t get a large amount of notice for the drops, so the team needs to move quickly.

“These drops are integral to issue stores out to 3rd Brigade.”


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