The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has provided airlift capability to transfer critical personnel, stores and equipment to Fiji in support of the Australian Government’s response to COVID-19. Personnel and equipment were flown from RAAF Base Amberley to Nadi on a RAAF C-17A Globemaster III aircraft on July 14. Australia is working closely with the Government of Fiji to support its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, to help protect the health and security of our close friends and Pacific neighbours and strengthen our shared recovery as a region.
Eleven members of a 17-person medical assistance team were flown to Fiji on along with three fully equipped ambulances, oxygen equipment, stretcher beds, personal protective equipment and laboratory machines to boost community testing. This is the second team of expert medical personnel Australia and New Zealand have deployed to help Fiji through the COVID-19 crisis. The team will work with Fiji’s frontline health workers to strengthen infection prevention and control at healthcare facilities, provide training and establish temporary surge healthcare facilities as required.
Commanding Officer of No. 36 Squadron Wing Commander Dean Bolton said, “The Australian Government regularly called upon the squadron to help those in need. We have flown numerous missions to Fiji recently providing COVID-19 relief and support for the recovery after Tropical Cyclone Yasa in December 2020. 36 Squadron remains highly capable of conducting its role despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic and are ready to respond to Government tasking throughout the Indo-Pacific region. The opportunity to support our Fijian friends is warmly received.”
The C-17A Globemaster III provides the Air Force with an unprecedented capacity for strategic airlift. It allows Australia to rapidly deploy troops, supplies, combat vehicles, heavy equipment and helicopters anywhere in the world. Based at RAAF Base Amberley, all eight C-17As are operated by No. 36 Squadron, and provide a logistics backbone for Australian Defence Force operations overseas. This has included operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan, as well as East Timor. The McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft that was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas.