Three Boeing C-17A Globemaster IIIs have been operating out of RAAF Base Amberley as part of Exercise Global Dexterity, an annual exercise to improve C-17 interoperability between the armed forces of Australia and the United States. As part of the exercise, the aircraft descend to an altitude of 300ft periodically and conduct simulated and actual airdrops of equipment.
Wednesday saw the three-ship formation fly north to the Whitsundays, then over Silversmith Island, Sandy Cope, South of Fraser Island, Rainbow Beach, Noosa and Sunshine Coast Airport. After that they climbed to 20000 ft before heading back towards RAAF Base Amberley. The three-ship callsign “CHARGER” was noted doing two simulated parachute drops over RAAF Base Amberley, getting as low as 800ft.
According to Defence, on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th of November the aircraft will again transit from Amberley at high level. They will then commence low level formations in the vicinity of Richmond, New South Wales from 2.00pm local time, then over Katoomba, Warragamba Dam, Kiama, Wollongong, Cronulla, Sydney Heads, Manly, Long Reef and Barrenjoey, before again transiting back to Amberley in the afternoon.
A Strong and Experienced Ally
The United States is no stranger to the C-17, with a fleet of 222 aircraft and nearly 25 years of operational experience. Exercise Global Dexterity is the most recent initiative in a series of attempts at improving interoperability between the RAAF and USAF across aircrew and maintenance personnel.
“Honing in on C-17 interoperability provides a benchmark for future iterations of the exercise and paves the way for real-world mixed aircrew and maintenance support for airlift operations. Strengthening our partnership with the RAAF is a key element in further projecting combat airpower in the region and remaining strategically ready to go anywhere, anytime.”Col. Halsey Burks, 15th WG commander
This exercise follows RAAF maintenance airmen fixing two USAF C-17s in Australia in July, and USAF maintenance airmen fixing a RAAF C-17 at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, in September as part of the C-17A Aircraft Repair and Maintenance Service – Implementing Arrangement (ARMS-IA). This agreement allows airmen from each country to repair non-mission capable aircraft from either country in mission-critical situations.