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US and UK C-17A Heavy Lifters Arrive Down Under

United States Air Force C-17A Globemaster IIIs flying as part of a three-ship formation during Exercise GLOBAL DEXTERITY 23-2 [© ADoD: Senior Airman Mackenzie Cooper]

Exercise GLOBAL DEXTERITY has brought together C-17A Globemaster heavy lifters from the US, UK and Australia down under.


Press Release, Canberra, 04 December 2023: Exercise GLOBAL DEXTERITY has brought together C-17A Globemaster aircraft from the US, UK and Australia for a series of air mobility training missions.

Held at RAAF Base Amberley from November 27 to December 8, the exercise continues to build close ties between RAAF’s 36 Squadron and the US Pacific Air Forces’ (PACAF) 535th Airlift Squadron, travelling from Hawaii. For the first time, Royal Air Force’s (RAF) 99 Squadron participated in the exercise from December 1. Exercise GLOBAL DEXTERITY is held twice a year and provides an opportunity for C-17A aircrew and technicians to build aviator-level relationships with foreign counterparts.

Commanding Officer 36 Squadron Wing Commander Scott Hyland said these relationships ensured RAAF aviators could support operations at short notice.

“The C-17A is well suited to delivering critical personnel and large amounts of cargo across the Indo-Pacific, but the people and our relationships are what allow us to do this quickly and effectively,” Wing Commander Hyland said.

“Through Exercise GLOBAL DEXTERITY, we’ve built a relationship with the US PACAF C-17A community that allows us to fly and fix each other’s aircraft as a blended workforce, greatly increasing our flexibility during operations.

“The value of these aircraft and their workforce is evident when we deploy together in the region, whether it be in support of peacekeeping operations, non-combatant evacuations, or to deliver a time-critical response to a natural disaster.”

C-17A Globemaster III aircraft of RAAF’s 36 Squadron and the US Air Force’s 15th Wing on the 36 Squadron flight line at RAAF Base Amberley for Exercise GLOBAL DEXTERITY [© ADoD: Cpl Kieren Whiteley]

The exercise this year involves low-level formation training around western Sydney, high-level air-to-air refuelling from RAAF KC-30As, and deployed operations to RAAF Bases Townsville and Scherger in northern Queensland.

“With the cooperation of the Papua New Guinea government, we will also conduct air mobility missions to PNG during Exercise GLOBAL DEXTERITY 23-2,” Wing Commander Hyland said.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to test our skills in PNG, which is one of the world’s most complex flying environments. The training we achieve during Exercise GLOBAL DEXTERITY ensures that we can deliver help anywhere in the Indo-Pacific.

“We welcome the UK’s debut in Exercise GLOBAL DEXTERITY, and believe it will yield great benefit to the wider Indo-Pacific community on future operations, and we thank the government and community of PNG for their support.”


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