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RAAF touches down with million-year-old Antarctic ice cores

Flight Sergeant Steven Borg moves cargo from the Australian Antarctic Division.

The Royal Australian Air Force has transported the first ice cores to Tasmania from the Australian Antarctic Division’s Million Year Ice Core project.

The Royal Australian Air Force has transported the first ice cores to Tasmania from the Australian Antarctic Division’s Million Year Ice Core project.

A RAAF C-17A Globemaster safely touched down with the million-year-old samples in special powered cold boxes as they were transferred from Casey Station to the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) headquarters in Hobart earlier this month.

AAD chief of operations Matt Filipowski said the delivery highlighted the importance of transporting the ice cores and the strong relationship between the AAD and ADF.

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“The AAD can leverage off the niche capabilities Defence has,” Filipowski said.

“The support from the ADF is significant and certainly appreciated by the AAD. It’s been an ongoing partnership since the establishment of Operation Southern Discovery in 2017.

“The ADF also undertook an air drop of approximately 12 tonnes of cargo to a remote field location between Casey and Davis stations, allowing us to prepare for a scientific effort next season.”

Operation Southern Discovery occurs annually between November and March.

C-17A Globemaster III pilots, Flight Lieutenants Conor O’Neill and Alice McCabe, said delivering cargo on the last ADF flight of the season was highly rewarding.

“It felt great to deliver the last package of food for the season,” said FLTLT Conor O’Neill.

“The AAD team were so thankful for the long-range delivery,” said FLTLT Alice McCabe.

No. 29 Squadron ground crewman Corporal Jason Williams said the crew were proud to contribute to the unique operation.

“We provide logistic support and ground safety. That helps AAD do their job and facilitates 36 Squadron do their tasks,” CPL Williams said.

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