Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Air Force technicians on the tools together

For the first time, No. 36 Squadron (36SQN) has worked to get U.S. Air Force C-17A Globemasters back into the air under a new cross-servicing arrangement.

Technicians from 36 Squadron were able to assist the crews of two USAF C-17As on separate tasks in Australia.

The work came following both countries agreeing to a C-17A Aircraft Repair and Maintenance Service – Implementing Arrangement (ARMS-IA), which allows RAAF and U.S. Air Force technicians to work on each other’s C-17As.

On July 4, ARMS-IA was enacted to help support a U.S. Air Force C-17A at RAAF Base Richmond.

Warrant Officer Pete Ranson, Warrant Officer Engineering at 36 Squadron, said the request for assistance came via the Boeing Defence Australia representatives at RAAF Base Amberley.

“We supplied a co-pilot Multi-Function Control Panel for the cockpit, fitted it and carried out the associated operational checks to verify the replacement,” Ranson said.

“After that rectification, another unserviceability appeared, and was successfully rectified.”

This issue related to a Secondary Flight Control Computer, and saw 36SQN engage fellow RAAF technicians at 37 Squadron for tooling and consumables.

Throughout the repair on the U.S. C-17A, RAAF and USAF technicians worked side-by-side.

“The issues with the affected aircraft were outside the expertise of the USAF maintenance personnel on that task,” Ranson said.

“The USAF aviation technician trades are more specialized than the RAAF, where we stream to either Aircraft Technician or Avionics Technician.”

“We carry a broader experience in a range of tasks, and 36 Squadron maintenance personnel were able to guide the USAF counterparts in rectifying the jet.”

The fix at RAAF Base Richmond came just days after 36 Squadron technicians assisted another U.S. C-17A with a suspected fuel leak fault at Rockhampton.

“On that occasion, we sent maintenance personnel to troubleshoot the problem,” Ranson said.

“We found it was a faulty valve and not a fuel leak from the tank, which gave confidence to the USAF crew that they could carry on to an appropriate location to replace the valve.”

Group Capt. Steve Pesce, officer commanding No. 86 Wing, said the work of 36 Squadron technicians had immediately validated the ARMS-IA.

“The ARMS-IA recognized the close relationship between RAAF and USAF C-17A communities, and the reality that we operate this aircraft a long way from home,” Pesce said.

“Both of these examples witnessed a C-17A getting back on a task much sooner than would have been otherwise possible, which is invaluable support.”

“I am very proud of the 36 Squadron team for the assistance it’s rendered to its U.S. counterparts.”

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