The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has sent a C-27J Spartan to Papua New Guinea to integrate the military transport aircraft’s capabilities with the country’s PAC-750 aircraft.
The deployment was part of the Defence Pacific Air Program, an Australian initiative that seeks to coordinate Pacific militaries and security agencies to promote peace in the region.
The Spartan rotations ran from July to August and late August to early October.
Mightier Air Strength
84 Wing Group Commanding Officer Captain Matt Cooper said that the crew collaborated with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) in various missions during the first deployment.
“Early in the detachment, PNGDF members were taken on a familiarization flight to develop their understanding of C-27J Spartan capabilities,” he said.
“The detachment established training and interoperability opportunities for PNGDF Air Movements personnel at less-prepared and remote airfields accessible to the Spartan.”
Practical drills were also conducted to test PNGDF’s preparedness in integrating two PAC-750XL utility aircraft to the force, which were shipped from Australia earlier this year.
On Disaster Response
Before redeploying to Australia, the detachment played a crucial role in responding to the August Mount Bagana volcanic eruption in Bougainville.
The Australian team collaborated with PNGDF and delivered humanitarian aid and disaster relief supplies to local communities. The C-27J was also used to evacuate citizens from remote areas.
“The most rewarding tasking was being on the first aircraft to deliver [humanitarian assistance and disaster relief] supplies to Bougainville,” 35 Squadron loadmaster Corporal Deniele Oehm stated, expanding on the importance of collaboration and cohesiveness between the two countries.
“The effort the whole crew put in to deliver this outcome on one of our final days was a momentous achievement and the locals were so grateful for the supplies.”
The Defence Pacific Air Program allows the RAAF to continue coordinating with Papua New Guinea’s government agencies to promote interoperability in times of natural crisis.