Australia — Army’s Abrams gets its first lift on board Air Force C-17A

For the first time, an Army M1A1 Abrams tank has been flown on board a Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globe­mas­ter III trans­port.

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For the first time, an Army M1A1 Abrams tank has been flown on board a Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globe­mas­ter III trans­port. On May the 11th, the C-17A car­ried the Abrams 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.
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On May 11th, the C-17A car­ried the Abrams 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.

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Air Com­modore Gary Mar­tin, Com­man­der Air Lift Group, said the Abrams is one of the heav­i­est sin­gle loads which can be car­ried on board the C-17A.

“At 61 tonnes, the Abrams comes close to the total pay­load capac­i­ty of 70 tonnes for the C-17A,” Air Com­modore Mar­tin 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.

The flight of the Abrams pro­vides vital expe­ri­ence for Army and Air Force per­son­nel, and empha­sis­es a key strate­gic capa­bil­i­ty for Defence.

“Aus­tralia is pos­sessed with a great geo­graph­ic expanse, requir­ing a respon­sive strate­gic air­lift capa­bil­i­ty to quick­ly deliv­er Defence Force per­son­nel and car­go,” Air Com­modore Mar­tin said.

Com­man­der of the Dar­win based 1st Brigade, Brigadier Gus McLach­lan, AM, says the air­lift demon­strates the high lev­el of inter­op­er­abil­i­ty now avail­able between the branch­es of the Defence Force.

“The air­lift of the M1A1 Abrams by Air Force C-17A is an impor­tant mile­stone,” Brigadier McLach­lan said.

“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.”

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia