Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Military Logistics Is Lifted By Boeing

War Machine Also Provides Humanitarian Relief
Shipping News Feature

US – AUSTRALIA – JAPAN – The world of freight and logistics is a broad church which encompasses many chapters but military carriers face a particular set of problems. This week Boeing was pleased to witness an agreement signed between the US government and the Commonwealth of Australia to acquire a fifth Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifter. The giant plane is required by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to assist in delivering a variety of cargo to the ever increasing list of humanitarian and disaster relief missions. The company also reported they supported the Australian Army’s 27 Bell 206B-1 Kiowa helicopters during the recent relief effort in Queensland.

This year has unfortunately been a busy one for such missions with RAAF C-17s supporting relief efforts to earthquake- and tsunami-affected regions in Japan under Operation Pacific Assist for nearly two weeks in March. The RAAF delivered personnel and more than 1 million pounds of cargo, including food and water, vehicles, disaster relief equipment, and pumps to help cool the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Weeks earlier, the RAAF supported relief efforts in Christchurch, New Zealand, following an earthquake there, and to several communities in Queensland, Australia, that were affected by flooding.

Due to the RAAF's immediate need for an additional airlifter, the U.S. Air Force has approved Australia’s request to take delivery of its fifth C-17 in August. The airlifter will be assigned to RAAF Base Amberley’s 36 Squadron, near Brisbane.

The C-17 can transport large payloads across vast ranges, land on short, austere runways, and operate in extreme climates. It is the only airlifter that possesses both tactical and strategic capabilities. Boeing provides support to the RAAF's C-17s through the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership, a Performance-Based Logistics program that includes an extensive support network.

The bulk of the world’s C-17 fleet are deployed with the US Air Force who have 210, the remaining 20 being distributed between the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, the Qatar Emiri Air Force, the Canadian Air Force, the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations, and the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence.

The 206B-1 is the Australian variant of a OH-58 Kiowa and Boeing and its heritage companies have supported the helicopter for 14 years and since the Army Aviation Training & Training Support (AATTS) contract began in 2007, Boeing has trained more than 120 Kiowa pilots and performed ongoing maintenance tasks for 19 Kiowa training helicopters at the Army Aviation Training Centre in Oakey, and for the 173rd Aviation Squadron's eight transport Kiowas at Holsworthy, New South Wales. Mark Brownsey, program manager for Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) commented:

"When Cyclone Yasi severely damaged north Queensland in February, the Australian Army supplied all available training and transport Kiowas to support Operation Yasi Assist. Boeing aircraft maintainers worked around the clock alongside the Army for two weeks to keep those Kiowas flying. Congratulations to our AATTS team for achieving this milestone and for assisting the Army with its 2,000 training missions annually."

Col. Peter Steel, Commandant at the School of Army Aviation, Army Aviation Training Centre added:

"The support from BDA during the Queensland floods this year was simply outstanding, and the Army Aviation Training Centre aircraft and crews could not have conducted the lifesaving flying operations that they did without this one-team approach."