No. 35 Squadron C-27J Spartan aircraft and personnel from Amberley have responded swiftly to deliver personnel and urgent fuel stocks to Mt Isa and western Queensland in support of flood relief efforts.
The first two flights to western Queensland on 9 February are the first flights of the year for the squadron and marked the start of flying operations two days earlier than had been scheduled from their new base at Amberley.
Loadmaster Sergeant Jay Goggin said two RAAF C-27J Spartan aircraft and crew worked with Australian Army personnel from 9th Force Support Battalion to load Drum Fabric Collapsible bladders containing 1895 litres of urgent fuel stocks.
"These fuel bladders were delivered to the isolated areas of Richmond and Julia Creek for local civilian helicopters dropping fodder and hay to farmers and livestock devastated by the extreme weather conditions," SGT Goggin said.
Executive Officer No. 35 Squadron, Squadron Leader Mark Seery, expanded on the comments made by SGT Goggin: "The C-27J Spartan is an agile aircraft that can land in austere airfields and along dirt strips enabling the quick insertion of supplies to areas that need it most, and would have otherwise been inaccessible for larger aircraft or via road transport."
The squadron will be working closely with RAAF C-17A Globemaster aircraft to move more supplies to those affected by the floods.
Australia's first Spartan arrived in 2015 and is currently based at RAAF Base Richmond, operated by No. 35 Squadron. The squadron will relocate to RAAF Base Amberley once permanent facilities are completed this year. Initial operational capability (IOC) for the Spartan was declared in late 2016.
The C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter complements the ADF's existing air mobility fleet. Its capabilities bridge the gap between Army helicopters, such as the CH-47F Chinook, and larger Air Force aircraft, such as the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster III.
The Spartans provide airlift of people, equipment and supplies in Australia and our region. It can operate from unsurfaced airstrips, and support humanitarian missions in remote locations.