A RAAF C-17A Globemaster which supported relief efforts in earthquake and tsunami stricken Japan has returned to Australia, after two weeks in-country under Operation Pacific Assist.
“Now that the initial crisis response is over and the focus of the mission has changed from search and rescue to reconstruction, there are sufficient resources available in Japan to manage further airlift tasks,” Minister for Defence Stephen Smith said on March 25.
Australia initially sent one C-17 to Japan immediately after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, providing strategic airlift of civilian urban search and rescue personnel, tracker dogs and equipment. That aircraft then stayed on in Japan to fly a total of 23 sorties over the past two weeks, moving more than 450 tonnes of vehicles, people and supplies to disaster zones throughout Japan.
Two additional RAAF C-17s also transported a remotely operated water cannon system, to be used in containment operations at Japan’s Fukushima Number One Nuclear Power Plant.