A team of Army vehicle mechanics and technicians is busy preparing protected mobility vehicles (PMV) to be transported to Australia from the Middle East.

The majority of the personnel in the team deployed on Operation Accordion are from the 10th Force Support Battalion based in Townsville.

The vehicles will be transported via ship, and preparing them for transport is providing the mechanics and technicians with new skills to bring home.

Artificer Sergeant Major and Officer in Charge of Workshops, Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Alexander Fay, said the work undertaken in the Middle East was quite different to what the team would normally be exposed to, especially in a triservice environment.

“The team is made up of fairly junior specialists – consisting of eight members split between the air side of the maintenance section and the land side,” WO2 Fay said.

“Here in the Middle East, they have the ability to do far more hands-on work with the PMVs then they typically would.

“A lot of the equipment is exclusively kitted-out for operations in this region, creating unique challenges and opportunities for the team to develop new skills.”

WO2 Fay said the preparation of PMVs for sea transport involved an initial deep clean and de-fitting of local equipment installed for the Middle East environment. 

The power pack is then removed and the vehicles are towed over to the wash point where they receive a further clean, are reassembled, and the fuel systems are treated for transit.

“The largest challenge we have is the environment here in the Middle East – it’s hard to keep everything clean for the sea move once a task is considered complete,” WO2 Fay said.

“The qualifications gained and experience had while deployed on Operation Accordion will greatly assist each mechanic and technician's career moving forward.”

Mechanic Corporal Josiah Palombini said each PMV required a six-hour pressure wash as part of the process to prepare the vehicles for transport, and it took six days to complete the whole preparation task.

“Basically, we have to completely hollow out the vehicle – we have to strip up the floors, remove transmission covers, pull the power pack out, and a whole lot more,” Corporal Palombini said.

“In Townsville, I haven’t worked on PMVs since my technical training course, so it’s great to re-learn.”

Another mechanic, Lance Corporal Tim Pates, echoed that sentiment.

He said it was rewarding to see the work achieved by the small workshop team in just a few months.

“It’s really fulfilling to see the work complete – 10 years’ worth of dirt, grime, dust and build-up all gone,” Lance Corporal Pates said.

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