The Royal Australian Air Force is providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief to isolated regions of flood-affected Queensland. Personnel from No. 35 Squadron have responded swiftly to deliver personnel and urgent fuel stocks to Mt Isa and western Queensland in C-27J Spartan aircraft.
The first two flights to western Queensland on 9 February were 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 C-27J Spartan aircraft and crew worked with Australian Army personnel from 9th Force Support Battalion to load 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.
The Executive Officer of 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. These regions 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 over the coming weeks. The Commanding Officer of No. 35 Squadron, Wing Commander Ben Poxon, said the ongoing flood relief response would be a “hub and spoke” operation highlighting the strength and flexibility of the air mobility fleet. The squadron will work 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 like Mt Isa airport where the C-27J will transport to smaller, remote airfields where Army personnel are ready waiting to unload,” Wing Commander Poxon said.
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