The Army and RAAF have collaborated to perform the first-ever airlift of a Rheinmetall MAN M40 truck with a No. 36 Squadron C-17A Globemaster III.
The exercise took place at RAAF Base Amberley, which requested to use the Army’s 6th Engineer Support Regiment’s (6ESR) equipment.
As a result, 6ESR reduced the lead time required to prepare equipment for airlift, helping to improve capability during the high-risk weather season.
“In 20 years, I’ve never seen a grader being loaded onto an aircraft,” said Sergeant Kent Schumann, from No. 23 Squadron’s Air Movement Section.
“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.”
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.
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.”
The RAAF operates eight C-17As from RAAF Base Amberley with 36SQN, the first of which was introduced in 2006.
The aircraft is a high-wing, four-engine heavy transport and is fitted with a bay ramp that allows it to airdrop cargo in-flight. It can also operate from unsurfaced runways as short as 1050 metres.