Ten tonne airdrop another Herculean feat for Air Force
31 October 2012
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130H Hercules made a mammoth airborne delivery today, when it airdropped a 10-tonne John Deere bulldozer into a Defence site in northwest Sydney.
The John Deere 450J Bulldozer was airdropped into Londonderry Drop Zone as part of a trial to certify it as suitable for aerial delivery by Air Force transport aircraft.
This was the final heavy airdrop to be performed by a C-130H Hercules, as the fleet will retire later this year. Air Force will continue to conduct the airdrop role on the newer generation C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster transports.
Extraction parachutes pulled the load backwards out of the Hercules cargo bay, at an altitude of 350 metres, before five 30-metre descent parachutes deployed and allowed the load to safely descend.
The total weight of the load, comprising the bulldozer, pallet, rigging and parachutes, was approximately 10,500kg. The bulldozer is used by Army’s Combat Engineer Regiments to clear areas, repair runways, and prepare drop zones.
Air Movements Training and Development Unit (AMTDU) – a joint Air Force and Army establishment at RAAF Base Richmond – has spent months planning the engineering requirements for safely delivering the load.
Commanding Officer of AMTDU, Wing Commander Carl Newman, said airdrops can place massive stresses on the load and aircraft alike.
“The objective is to ensure that airdrop of the load does not adversely impact the aircraft, and that the bulldozer is in working order after the airdrop,” Wing Commander Newman said.
“Even descending beneath five parachutes, the impact of this load hitting the ground would significantly damage most family cars or commercial trucks were they the cargo.
“Defence has worked with industry to design and deliver a bulldozer that is fit to handle the stresses involved in airdrop delivery.”
“The cooperation between Defence and industry in this case has been a great success and enabled us to bring this load to trial in a much shorter timeframe than many other complex loads,” Wing Commander Newman said.
On Friday, 30 November, Air Force will officially retire its remaining fleet of C-130H Hercules. The C-130J Hercules will continue to operate from RAAF Base Richmond, and will be joined by the smaller C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter from 2015.
Media note: Imagery is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/12131609
Eamon Hamilton Air Lift Group Public Affairs Officer 0429 868 794
Ben Wickham Defence Communications & Media – NSW 0411 203 579