A RAAF C-130J Hercules has delivered two off-road emergency service vehicles to St John Ambulance in Port Moresby, PNG.
The PNG Troop Carrier ambulances were refurbished in Darwin by St John Northern Territory (NT), and were designed to operate in remote areas and drive over rough terrain.
Judith Barker, the chief executive at St John Ambulance NT, said, “Our Mechanical Workshop is responsible for building and maintaining the NT ambulance fleet, which operates in often extreme weather and environmental conditions. We are pleased to share this expertise with St John PNG as they too work in similar conditions.
“St John NT has worked with a number of Australian suppliers to ensure the PNG ambulances are fitted out with equipment suitable for the challenging conditions they are likely to face.”
Defence has delivered a total of three ambulances to PNG in the past month, along with other critical supplies and equipment to assist in the country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Defence is currently providing targeted assistance including technical and logistics support as part of the whole-of-Australian government support to PNG,” Lieutenant General Greg Bilton added.
“This has included transporting Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) personnel, medical equipment, vaccines and other humanitarian supplies to Port Moresby.”
Earlier this month, Australian Aviation reported how RAAF shifted a C-130J Hercules from RAAF Base Richmond to RAAF Base Pearce in WA to support communities affected by tropical cyclone Seroja.
It’s been moving personnel and supplies including food, water and generators, and can also move casualties back to civilian hospitals for treatment if needed.
So far, the cyclone has destroyed or completely damaged 170 residential properties and businesses, while a further 491 have received more moderate damage.
The C-130J Super Hercules is a medium-sized tactical air-lifter that can carry 128 passengers or eight pallets of cargo. It can work alongside other airlifters, too, such as the C-27J Spartan and C-17A Globemaster III.
In September 1999, it helped evacuate 2,500 people from Dili, as conflict in East Timor raged.
A fleet of 12 are operated from RAAF Base Richmond by No. 37 Squadron, and were delivered between 1999 and 2001, but its lineage goes back far further.
The RAAF received its initial batch of the original incarnation of the Hercules back in December 1958, becoming the first nation to operate the aircraft outside of the US Air Force.
It marked 800,000 flying hours by its fleet with a formation flight of three over Sydney Harbour in 2014.