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,” Sergeant Goggin said.
Executive Officer No. 35 Squadron, Squadron Leader Mark Seery said the deployed team consisted of pilots, loadmasters, technicians and engineers who flew the stores more 1500km to western Queensland.
“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,” Squadron Leader Seery said.
No. 35 Squadron will continue to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief in support of the Whole of Government and Defence efforts over the coming weeks.
Commanding Officer No. 35 Squadron, Wing Commander Ben Poxon said the ongoing flood relief response will be a “hub and spoke” operation that highlights the strength and flexibility of the air mobility fleet.
The squadron will be working closely with RAAF C-17A Globemaster aircraft to move more supplies to those affected by the floods.
“The C-17A will fly multiple fuel bladders into larger, more established airfields (hub) like Mt Isa airport where the C-27J will transport to smaller, remote airfields (spoke) where Army personnel are ready waiting to unload,” Wing Commander Poxon said.