Air Load Team tackles weighty challenge
13 December 2013
The remediation and redeployment of equipment and personnel from Multi National Base – Tarin Kot is a mammoth logistical undertaking for the ADF. The RAAF is an integral part of the plan, especially when it comes down to moving bulk cargo and specialised equipment, like the Kalmar lifter.
The Kalmar lifter is a crane, used to move shipping containers, and weighs in at 115,000 pounds or just over 52 tonnes. To put it in perspective, an unloaded C-130J Hercules aircraft weights in at just over 72,500 pounds.
The Australian Air Load Team, led by Flying Officer Lauren Bishop, prepped and planned, and with the help of the United States Air Force’s 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, loaded the Kalmar onto a RAAF C-17A Globemaster.
“The Air Load Team had to carefully prepare the Kalmar for air transport by first weighing the vehicle and calculating its centre of gravity. From there we developed a load plan for the vehicle which ensured the C-17 was correctly balanced and weight limits for the airframe were not exceeded,” Flying Officer Bishop said.
It took two attempts to get the Kalmar onto the C-17 due to its size and weight. Once on board, 54 separate restraints were used to secure it.
“This was to ensure the forward, aft, vertical and lateral restraint requirements were met prior to flight,” Flying Officer Bishop said.
Once on board the Lifter (a US asset) was flown the short distance to Kandahar Air Field. The successful operation was a major achievement for the 15 Australian Air Load Team members and their US Air Force counterparts.
The Australian Air Load Team will remain in Tarin Kot until the end of the Australian mission in Uruzgan.
“We are here at Multi National Base until the final aircraft departs in mid December, then we will return to Australia in late December,” Flying Officer Bishop said.