RAAF C-27J Spartan participates in its first major international exercise

The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) C-27J Spartan tactical airlifter is participating in its first major international exercise since brought into service by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

The Spartan, assigned to RAAF’s No. 35 Squadron, is currently participating in the Exercise Southern Katipo 2017, the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) largest combined and joint exercise.

The RAAF Spartan has transported more than 200 troops with their equipment and 11000 pounds of cargo into the exercise area since Southern Katipo started on 18 October. The crew will also conduct air drops to help re-supply troops in the field as the exercise develops into its peacekeeping and war fighting phases.

The ADF has also deployed a KA350 King Air and Air Load Teams to support the Air Task Group, with a RAAF C-130 Hercules supporting the deployment of personnel from Australia to New Zealand.

The exercise is a biannual, multinational military training conducted designed to improve combat training, readiness and interoperability among allied and partner nations as part of a joint inter-agency task force (JIATF).

The countries participating in the exercise are New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Brunei, Malaysia, Timor Leste, French Polynesia, Canada, France, U.S. and Britain.

The exercise will see operations by 17 fixed-wing aircraft, six helicopters, five ships and more than three-thousand ground force personnel, as well as civilian agencies including Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The exercise features a variety of air, land and sea scenarios including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, the evacuation of civilians, delivery of humanitarian aid, maritime patrols, peacekeeping operations and conventional warfighting.

Air assets from the U.S. Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) are also participating in the training. Air operations is being conducted out of RNZAF Base Ohakea.

With inputs from Australian Department of Defence & U.S. Air Force

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