A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster has transported over 60 Vietnamese military personnel deploying to the United Nations Mission (UNMISS) in South Sudan. The flight, conducted by the Australian Defence Force, has provided a strategic airlift for Vietnamese soldiers and equipment from Ho Chi Minh City to Juba, South Sudan, enabling Vietnam to rotate their staff at the role 2 field hospital. Vietnam’s President, Võ Van Thuong, attended a farewell ceremony held in honour of the peacekeepers departure from Ho Chi Minh City. This is the fifth year Australia has been able to provide the strategic airlift to assist Vietnam rotate their military personnel through UNMISS.
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said, “Australia and Vietnam’s deepening defence relationship enabled both nations to make an active contribution as regional partners to the maintenance of the global rules-based order. Vietnam is an important partner for Australia. We share a strategic interest in maintaining a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific. Our militaries work collectively and learn from each other – not only through this close peacekeeping partnership, but also through professional military education and skills exchange programs.”
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is a United Nations peacekeeping mission for South Sudan, which became independent on 9 July 2011. UNMISS was established on 8 July 2011 by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1996 (2011). Since December 2016, UNMISS has been led by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, South African lawyer and diplomat Nicholas Haysom. Haysom succeeded David Shearer in January 2021. As of March 2021, it is composed of 14,222 military personnel, 1,446 police, and 2,228 civilian workers, as well as small contingents of experts, staff officers, and volunteers. It is headquartered in the South Sudanese capital of Juba.
The C-17A Globemaster III provides a logistics backbone for Australian Defence Force operations. It allows Australia to rapidly deploy troops, supplies, combat vehicles, heavy equipment and helicopters anywhere in the world. Australia introduced an initial fleet of four C-17As between 2006 and 2008. Additional aircraft were acquired in 2011, 2012, and 2015. Based at RAAF Base Amberley, all eight C-17As are operated by No. 36 Squadron. C-17As have supported personnel on deployments, and been an integral part of disaster relief and humanitarian missions. The C-17A Globemaster is fitted with a cargo bay ramp that allows it to airdrop cargo in-flight, and can operate from unsurfaced runways as short as 3500 feet. Able to carry up to 77 tonnes of cargo, the C-17A’s cargo bay can accommodate loads ranging from: