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Australia, US Conduct Airdrop Training in Northern Territory

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the US Marine Corps (USMC) have conducted airdrop training in the Northern Territory to enhance joint logistics operations.

During the drill, the air force’s 35 Squadron deployed a C-27J military transport aircraft over the Mount Bundey Training Area to carry practice cargo of light equipment bundles and container delivery systems.

Personnel from the Marine Rotational Force Darwin served as drop zone officers to assist with the dispatch and oversee related safety measures.

“This is the second time I’ve worked with the RAAF C-27J and it has been outstanding. The flexibility and willingness to work together and do something different has been great,” USMC Aerial Delivery Specialist Gunnery Sgt. Emmanuel Alvarado said.

“This training integration between our two forces provides us increased understanding for future real-world operations.”

Practice With Non-Familiar Loads

RAAF C-27J Captain Flight Lt. Matthew Still coordinated with the Marines to organize the drops and ensure the quality of payloads as they land mid-flight.

The Marine Rotational Force Darwin assembled the airdrop loads a day before the training. Loading inspection was joined by experts from 35 Squadron.

This enabled the Australian team to compare and assess methods with non-familiar loads used by the marine corps.

C-27J Spartan
A Royal Australian Air Force C-27J Spartan. Photo: Royal Australian Air Force

“We learnt each other’s processes and procedures, then rehearsed and conducted the airdrop to assure mission success when we have to work together in future operations,” Still explained.

RAAF Loadmaster Warrant Officer Shaun Segon added that “some important considerations are ensuring the loads are rigged correctly and that we maintain the aircraft’s Centre of Gravity limitations.” 

“The USMC rig their loads a little differently to ours so we ensure they’re safe to drop and fall within our guidelines and procedures.” 

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