Army personnel have conducted a number of collaborative training exercises with the RAAF, testing the speed of their air lift capability.
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The training included the first airlift of a Rheinmetall MAN M40 truck with a No. 36 Squadron C-17A Globemaster III.
The exercise was initiated by No. 36 Squadron’s loadmasters at RAAF Base Amberley, which requested to use the Army’s 6th Engineer Support Regiment’s (6ESR) equipment.
“It’s really been training for everyone as it’s allowed us to practise preparing our engineering equipment that’s often used to support the civilian community as part of disaster response efforts,” Captain Chicoutimi Done, from 6ESR, said.
“This preparation involved ensuring our equipment was free from fuel and any chemicals, and explosive ordnance elements were properly prepared.”
As a result of the training exercises, 6ESR reduced the lead time required to prepare equipment for airlift, helping to improve capability during the high-risk weather season when 6ESR’s engineering equipment may need to be airlifted at short notice.
“We’ve been able to streamline our processes so we can now deploy our assets faster than ever before,” CAPT Done said.
“Our equipment comes in all different shapes and sizes, and this training has enabled us to ensure we’re meeting the requirements for our equipment to be airlifted safely,
“We’ve constructed shoring to help support our equipment during airlifts.”
Some of the shoring constructed by 6ESR — material used to support vehicles and plant equipment in an aircraft to prevent movement during turbulence — was tested when a grader was loaded onto a C-17A Globemaster III during the exercise, with the shoring placed under the axels and frame of the grader.
Sergeant Kent Schumann, from No. 23 Squadron’s Air Movement Section, said the experiences serves as a learning opportunity for all personnel involved.
“In 20 years, I’ve never seen a grader being loaded onto an aircraft,” SGT Schumann said.
“We weren’t sure whether the blade on the grader had to be resting down on a piece of wood or raised up during flight.
“We looked at a manual and it said the blade had to be raised up, so now we know for next time.”
Warrant Officer Tom Watson, a loadmaster with No. 36 Squadron’s Training Flight, added, “We saw this as an outstanding opportunity for the development of our junior loadmasters by exposing them to cargo that is not commonly carried.
“We stacked the crews with those relatively new to the loadmaster role in order to expose them to different types of vehicles in a bid to develop their trade knowledge.
“The experience and knowledge gained by those involved was well worth the effort.”