Air Force Spartan embarks on international exercise in New Caledonia
13 November 2017
Over the period 13–24 November 2017, 44 Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel and a C-27J Spartan transport aircraft will participate in Exercise MHANUU 2017 in New Caledonia.
MHANUU is hosted by the French Armed Forces of New Caledonia (FANC) and involves rehearsing regional humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) scenarios.
As the South Pacific is prone to natural disasters, the Australian Defence Force is committed to working closely with its regional partners to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance as required.
The Spartan, from No. 35 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond, has joined the FANC Air base near Noumea and will operate in coordination with French aircraft during the Exercise.
Commanding Officer No. 35 Squadron Wing Commander Jarrod Pendlebury, said MHANUU serves as a valuable training experience for Air Force.
“We carry a tremendous amount of experience with HADR operations, and it’s important to apply that knowledge to the Spartan workforce,” Wing Commander Pendlebury said.
“This includes flying missions to airdrop aid and personnel, evacuate people from remote airstrips, and conduct aero-medical evacuations.
“Bringing the Spartan to MHANUU ensures that we can build techniques with regional partners from France and New Zealand, and be ready to respond if called.”
The Spartan, which entered RAAF service in mid-2015, carries a payload of five tonnes, or 34 passengers.
The Spartan’s relatively small size allows it to access airstrips too narrow or soft for larger airlifters, which significantly enhances the RAAF’s HADR capabilities across the Pacific.
“The Air Force has a wide range of air mobility platforms that can deliver relief supplies and specialist personnel around the globe, but it’s the Spartan’s job to deliver over that last tactical mile,” Wing Commander Pendlebury said.
“MHANUU allows partner nations to better understand what RAAF can do, as well as providing No. 35 Squadron the opportunity to work in an unfamiliar environment.”
Imagery will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/mhanuu