Australia and Papua New Guinea have marked another milestone in strong defence partnership with the handover of two new PAC 750 light transport aircraft to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) in Port Moresby. Assistant Minister for Defence, The Hon. Matt Thistlethwaite MP, joined Papua New Guinea Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon. John Rosso MP, to formally hand over the aircraft. In consultation with the PNGDF, the PAC 750 aircraft was selected because of its ability to take off and land from short and varied airfields, which is highly valued in PNG’s diverse terrain and geography. The aircraft will further increase the PNGDF’s sovereign aviation capabilities and enhance the ability of the Government of Papua New Guinea to support communities and civil authorities across the country.
Quotes attributable to the Assistant Minister for Defence, Assistant Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel, and Assistant Minister for the Republic, the Hon. Matt Thistlethwaite:“Australia is pleased to be able to partner with the PNGDF to strengthen their aviation capability and to respond to the needs of the Government and people of Papua New Guinea. The two aircraft will create new opportunities for our forces to work together building on our longstanding defence partnership.”
The new PAC 750 light transport aircraft will enhance existing defence aviation cooperation activities already underway, including the recently announced Defence Pacific Air Program. The first was delivered in 2018 to the PNGDF’s Air Operations Element. Australia, through the Royal Australian Air Force, the Defence Cooperation Program and the Flights of Excellence Program, will continue to work closely with the PNGDF on aviation safety, maintenance and sustainment throughout the operational life of the aircraft. Australia and Papua New Guinea have also continued to partner in support of Papua New Guinea’s security infrastructure priorities, with construction works underway to refurbish the PNGDF’s Air Transport Wing at Jackson’s International Airport in Port Moresby.
The new aircraft bring the PNGDF’s PAC 750 fleet to three, following the Australian Defence Force’s support to remediate the PNGDF’s first PAC 750 in 2021. The PAC P-750 XSTOL, (formerly known as the PAC 750XL) is a utility aircraft of conventional all-metal low-wing monoplane design, with fixed tricycle undercarriage. Combining the engine and wings of the PAC Cresco with a new large fuselage and modified tail, all versions to date have been powered by a 750 hp (560 kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop. It is designed and manufactured in Hamilton, New Zealand by Pacific Aerospace Limited. The PNGDF has qualified four pilots on the aircraft and PNGDF loadmasters and maintenance personnel have been integrated into PAC 750 activities.