Date: May 16 2012
It's possible to fit a 61-tonne Abrams tank into one of the RAAF's new C-17A transport aircraft, but only just.
Defence has proved it can be done.
For the first time, it's loaded an Abrams aboard a C-17A at Darwin then flown it across to Queensland, where it will take part in Exercise Hamel at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
RAAF airlift group commander Air Commodore Gary Martin said the Abrams was one of the heaviest single loads able to be carried aboard a C-17.
''At 61 tonnes, the Abrams comes close to the total payload capacity of 70 tonnes for the C-17A,'' he said yesterday.
''Loading an Abrams on board a C-17A is a careful task requiring a steady hand and close co-operation between the driver and loadmaster to ensure no damage to vehicle or aircraft.'' The tank needs to be carefully positioned in the cargo hold to ensure the aircraft is properly balanced for flight.
Air Commodore Martin said the flight provided vital experience for army and air force personnel.
''Australia is possessed with a great geographic expanse, requiring a responsive strategic airlift capability to quickly deliver defence force personnel and cargo.'' AAP
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