The Australian Antarctic Division and Royal Australian Air Force have successfully flown a joint operational mission to East Antarctica, with a C-17A Globemaster III delivering heavy cargo to Wilkins Aerodrome close to Casey station in support of the Australian Antarctic programme.

C-17A at Wilkins Aerodrome. Image: David Said/RAAF
C-17A at Wilkins Aerodrome. Image: David Said/RAAF

The C-17A flew the 3450 km from Hobart to Casey in just over five hours, landing at Wilkins Aerodrome where it unloaded 12,340 kg of cargo, including a brand new Hägglunds, a floatable dual cab vehicle that operates on snow and ice and is used to transport personnel and equipment in and around Antarctic stations.

RAAF pilots en route to Wilkins Aerodrome in East Antarctica. Image: David Said/RAAF
RAAF pilots en route to Wilkins Aerodrome in East Antarctica. Image: David Said/RAAF

The flight is one in a series of proof of concept flights being trialled by the Royal Australian Air Force and Australian Antarctic Division, with the remaining flights scheduled to take place between November 2015 and February 2016. Following these flights, a full review will be undertaken by the Australian Antarctic Division and the Air Force.

A Hägglunds, a floatable over-snow vehicle is unloaded at Wilkins. Photo: David Said/RAAF
A Hägglunds, a floatable over-snow vehicle is unloaded at Wilkins. Photo: David Said/RAAF

The C-17A is the largest aircraft to have flown to Wilkins Aerodrome in Antarctica, and it offers an unprecedented cargo capability that offers a significant enhancement to the Division’s logistical and scientific capabilities.

Air Commodore Richard Lennon and AAD Director Dr. Nick Gales. Photo: David Said/RAAF
Air Commodore Richard Lennon and AAD Director Dr. Nick Gales. Photo: David Said/RAAF

Source: Australian Antarctic Division