Australia — Operation PACIFIC ASSIST- Final C‑17 returns from Japan

The remain­ing Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force C‑17A Globe­mas­ter pro­vid­ing sup­port to relief efforts in Japan under Oper­a­tion PACIFIC ASSIST is return­ing home today fol­low­ing near­ly two weeks of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to earth­quake and tsuna­mi affect­ed regions.

Last week­end I approved a one-week exten­sion of the use of the C‑17A Globe­mas­ter. Now that the ini­tial cri­sis response is over and the focus of the mis­sion has changed from search and res­cue to recon­struc­tion, there are suf­fi­cient resources avail­able in Japan to man­age fur­ther air­lift tasks. 

Aus­tralia sent the C‑17A Globe­mas­ter to Japan imme­di­ate­ly after the 11 March earth­quake and tsuna­mi as part of an Australia’s response, ini­tial­ly pro­vid­ing strate­gic air­lift of civil­ian urban search and res­cue per­son­nel, dogs and equip­ment. Over the past fort­night, the air­craft has under­tak­en 23 sor­ties pro­vid­ing intra-coun­try air­lift of vital stores and equip­ment assist­ing in the human­i­tar­i­an effort. 

Dur­ing its deploy­ment, the C‑17A and its crew moved more than a mil­lion pounds (450 tonnes) of car­go, includ­ing 41 vehi­cles, as well as 135 passengers. 

Australia’s sup­port to Japan at this crit­i­cal time has been an impor­tant reaf­fir­ma­tion of the com­pre­hen­sive Aus­tralia-Japan strate­gic, secu­ri­ty and eco­nom­ic partnership. 

This week I also approved two addi­tion­al RAAF C‑17A Globe­mas­ters to under­take a mis­sion from Aus­tralia to Japan car­ry­ing a remote­ly oper­at­ed water can­non sys­tem to assist with con­tain­ment oper­a­tions at the Fukushi­ma Num­ber One Nuclear Pow­er Plant. 

I con­grat­u­late the RAAF ground and flight crews and oth­er ADF per­son­nel who have been involved in Oper­a­tion PACIFIC ASSIST. Their efforts have been noticed by our Japan­ese and US part­ners, and Aus­tralians should be jus­ti­fi­ably proud that the con­tri­bu­tion has helped relieve the suf­fer­ing of a large num­ber of people. 

Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Depart­ment: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408498 664 

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

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