Honing skills with help from the SES

NSW State Emergency Services (SES) recently joined Air Mobility Training and Development Unit (AMTDU) for Exercise Cannonball – an annual training exercise that improves readiness for short-turnaround certification of non-Defence equipment to be transported in Defence aircraft.

CAPTIONSaurabh Sibal, assistant project officer for NSW SES, shows Flying Officer Phillip Davies equipment loaded onto an SES vehicle during Exercise Cannonball at RAAF Base Richmond. Story by Flying Officer Madeleine Magee. Photos by Sergeant Dan Pinhorn.

AMTDU is responsible for the air transport certification of vehicles for carriage in Defence aircraft.

The certification of new Defence equipment is carried out during procurement, but the unit is often required to assess non-Defence items in a short timeframe and in various locations around the country.

After a successful exercise with NSW Police last year, AMTDU was joined this year by NSW SES to test its ability to rapidly assess unfamiliar cargo for air transport.

Over four days in May, engineers, loadmasters and movements personnel honed their skills and processes in rapidly collecting and assessing data for 13 NSW SES vehicles.

Commanding Officer AMTDU Wing Commander Stephen Coote addressed how the exercise was beneficial to both organisations.

“The exercise provides training for AMTDU personnel in the rapid assessment of unusual vehicle types and informs the NSW SES on the air transportability of their vehicles should they ever consider that in response to a natural disaster,” Wing Commander Coote said.

“Especially coinciding with National Volunteer Week, it is great to work with the NSW SES and generate a mutual benefit.”

The ADF and NSW SES have often collaborated in rescue and recovery efforts during periods of natural disaster.

NSW SES Operations Coordinator Samuel Keene explained that the exercise built upon that relationship.

“Exercise Cannonball has been an invaluable opportunity for the NSW SES to strengthen our cooperation with the ADF,” Mr Keene said.

“The ability to enhance communication and assess deployment strategies of the SES fleet further extends the capacity in which we can assist the community in NSW, Australia and potentially overseas.”

CAPTIONAir Force and NSW SES personnel on the flightline at RAAF Base Richmond during Exercise Cannonball.


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