The RAAF made its last heavy airdrop from the C-130H Hercules when a 10-tonne bulldozer was delivered by low altitude parachute extraction into the Londonderry Drop Zone in northwestern Sydney on October 31.
The exercise was part of a trial to certify the bulldozer, a type under evaluation by the Australian Army, as suitable for airdrops.
Commanding Officer of Air Movements Training and Development Unit (AMTDU) WGCDR Carl Newman said airdrops can place massive stresses on the load and aircraft alike.
“The objective is to ensure that airdrop of the load does not adversely impact the aircraft, and that the bulldozer is in working order after the airdrop,” Wing Commander Newman said.
“Even descending beneath five parachutes, the impact of this load hitting the ground would significantly damage most family cars or commercial trucks were they the cargo. Defence has worked with industry to design and deliver a bulldozer that is fit to handle the stresses involved in airdrop delivery.”
Heavy airdops will in future be undertaken by the C-130J and C-17 transports following retirement of the C-130H on November 30.