C-17A flying to Wilkins Aerodrome in Antarctica

Wilkins Runway
Wilkins Aerodrome is Australia's sole intercontinental air link to East Antarctica, and is located 65 kms from Casey station. (Photo: Jeff Hadley)

A RAAF C-17A Globemaster III is undertaking a trial flight to Antarctica today, as part of plans to explore the use of the aircraft in delivering cargo for the Australian Antarctic Division.

Director of the Australian Antarctic Division Dr Nick Gales said working with the Air Force could complement the Division’s existing transport capability, enhancing logistical and scientific capabilities.

“The C-17A would provide an important boost to Australia’s mission in Antarctica,” Dr Gales said.

Commander Air Mobility Group Air Commodore Richard Lennon, said any flights by the C-17A to Antarctica would bring invaluable experience and capability enhancements to the Air Force while supporting Australia’s interests in Antarctica.

“This is the first time Air Force has flown missions to the Australian Antarctic Territory since 1963,” AIRCDRE Lennon said.

“It allows us to test our C-17As in extremely challenging Antarctic conditions, while supporting the great work carried out by the Australian Antarctic Division.”

The C-17A has a cargo capacity of more than 77,000kg, equivalent to around 48 mid-sized sedans, and a range of over 10,000km. The C-17A will land at Wilkins Aerodrome, located approximately 70 kilometres south east of Casey station in East Antarctica.