M1A1 Abrams tank takes a ride on RAAF C-17A
The Australian Department of Defence (DOD) has announced that an Australian Army Abrams tank has been flown on board a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globemaster III transport for the first time. The M1A1 is close to the heaviest single load capacity of the C-17A, and the flight provided ‘vital experience for army and air force personnel, and emphasises a key strategic capability for Defence’.
The flight took place on 11 May, 2012, and the aircraft carried the tank from RAAF Base Darwin to the Capricornia region as part of Exercise Hamel, where it will participate with other Defence units in the Shoalwater Bay Field Training Area.
Air Commodore Gary Martin, Commander Air Lift Group, said, ‘loading an Abrams on board a C-17A is a careful task requiring a steady hand and close cooperation between the driver and loadmaster, to ensure no damage to vehicle or aircraft. The Abrams is carefully driven up the cargo ramp of the C-17A and restrained to the cargo floor in a precise position, allowing the aircraft to remain balanced in flight.
Commander of the Darwin based 1st Brigade, Brigadier Gus McLachlan, AM, said the airlift demonstrates the high level of interoperability now available between the branches of the Australian Defence Force, commenting that ‘the airlift of the M1A1 Abrams by air force C-17A is an important milestone...It demonstrates the great capability now afforded to the Australian Defence Force and shows the Australian public that we have the ability to deliver our forces if needed, with relative ease to any place we need them to be.’
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