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RAAF C-27J deploys to New Zealand for first international exercise

Air Load Team personnel from the Royal Australian Air Force load a Container Delivery System onto a C-27J Spartan at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, as part of Exercise Southern Katipo 2017.

C-27J Spartan at RNZAF Base Ohakea. (Defence)

The Royal Australian Air Force’s 35 Squadron has deployed a C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter to participate in a major international exercise for the first time since it was brought into service with the Australian Defence Force.

The aircraft was deployed to New Zealand to provide an air mobility capability for Exercise Southern Katipo 2017, which is the New Zealand Defence Force’s largest combined and joint exercise, Defence stated on October 27.

The C-27J has transported more than 200 troops with their equipment and 11,000 pounds of cargo into the exercise area since October 18, including soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, Timor-Leste, the US, New Zealand and Australia.

Flight Lieutenant Jason Meyers, 35 Squadron C-27J detachment commander, said that deploying for the exercise has demonstrated the progress made by the squadron towards getting the new type fully operational.

“Our participation in Exercise Southern Katipo 2017 represents a massive leap forward for 35 Squadron, demonstrating our ability to operate the C-27J Spartan in support of military operations, not just in Australia but also abroad,” said FLTLT Meyers, who is the captain of the deployed aircraft.

As well as transporting personnel and equipment to Royal New Zealand Air Force bases, the Spartan crew has been conducting airdrops to help resupply troops in the field.

The ADF has also deployed a KA350 King Air and air load teams to support the exercise’s Air Task Group, with a C-130J Hercules tactical airlifter supporting the deployment of personnel from Australia.

Exercise Southern Katipo 2017 runs until mid-November.

No. 35 Squadron Loadmaster Sergeant Paul Graham gives the all clear as a Container Delivery System descends under parachute during airdrop operations conducted as part of Exercise Southern Katipo 2017.