The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is participating in Exercise MHANUU 2017 hosted by the French Armed Forces of New Caledonia (FANC).
MHANUU involves the participation of 44 RAAF personnel and a C-27J Spartan transport aircraft. Participating troops will practice regional humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) scenarios.
The Spartan from No 35 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond has joined the FANC Airbase near Noumea and will operate alongside French aircraft during the exercise.
No 35 Squadron commanding officer wing commander Jarrod Pendlebury said that MHANUU serves as a valuable training experience for the airforce.
Pendlebury said: “We carry a tremendous amount of experience with HADR operations and it’s important to apply that knowledge to the Spartan workforce.
“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.”
With a capacity to carry a payload of 5t or 34 passengers, the RAAF’s Spartan has been in operation since mid-2015.
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 Australian Department of Defence stated.
Pendlebury added: “The airforce 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.
“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.”
Exercise MHANUU 2017 will run until 24 November in New Caledonia.