SHAH ALAM: RMAF Flying the Flag in Indonesia. Two RMAF C-130H and a single A400M are currently involved to support the humanitarian relief effort in earthquake and tsunami hit Palu and its surrounding area. Previously only the Hercules were able to fly to Palu from Balikpapan, Kalimantan as the airport was damaged in the earthquake.
However since two days ago, RMAF sole A400M involved in relief operations, M54-04 has been able to fly direct to Palu from Jakarta where it had been based since it was sent there late last week. Today it flew a 22 tonne excavator directly to Palu from Jakarta, likely to be used in search and rescue operations in the quake hit city.
Tail number 04 – the same aircraft involved in Ex Pitch Black in August – replaced 02 which had started the mission last week. RMAF has not explain why they replaced 02 with 04 half way the mission. It’s likely though that 04 crew had “trained” for landing on a shortened, earthquake damaged runway at Palu before undertaking the actual one.
RMAF M54-02 A400M at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in a Twitter post by TUDM on Oct. 5
It is also likely that 02 had returned home after 04 arrived in Jakarta as RMAF had said it has only one A400M involved in the relief operations.
RMAF M54-04 being loaded with the fuel tanker in a TUDM tweet on Oct. 7.
For the relief effort, RMAF is working with the Indonesian government and Airbus Foundation. The foundation issued a release detailing the operations.
Loading the fuel truck in the A400M
The Indonesian Government, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Airbus Foundation have been working together to support humanitarian relief efforts in Palu, Indonesia with the deployment of a RMAF A400M and the distribution of emergency supplies to the city.
The A400M, which arrived in Jakarta’s Halim Air Base on 4th October, has been delivering relief material to Palu to support the victims of an earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which devastated the city on 28th September.
The A400M’s cargo included fuel trucks from Indonesian oil firm Pertamina and excavators from industrial products manufacturer PT Pindad. The aircraft also transported food and drinks, clothes, and medical supplies collected by the Indonesian Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises. It will be distributed via the ministry’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) networks, which are actively supporting the relief efforts.
The Airbus Foundation is also supporting the transport and the distribution of emergency supplies by helicopter and is already helping the IFRC by providing 45 flight hours with an H125. The Foundation is also supporting Medecins sans Frontières (MSF) by enabling them to contract an H155 operator who will be assisting relief efforts for a few weeks. Furthermore, images from Airbus satellites are being used for emergency response following the activation of the International Charter for Space.
“Everyone has seen the heart-breaking devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Palu, and our thoughts are with victims and their families who have lost so much,” said Andrea Debbane, Executive Director of the Airbus Foundation. “This is the least that we can do together with our partners, who have provided much-needed logistical support and contributed a lot to this urgent call for help.”
The earthquake was followed by a tsunami of up to six metres, which struck Palu and neighbouring Donggala. More than 1,400 people have died, around 5,000 residents have been reported missing and over 200,000 people are in need of emergency assistance.
Although it has been reported before that two RMAF EC725 helicopters will also be involved in the relief operations, it appears that this had not happened. Apart from the sole RMAF A400Ms involved in the operations, two more A400Ms are also involved, one each from the Royal Air Force and French Air Force each. The other foreign aircraft involved are mostly Hercules and C-17s from Australia, India and Qatar as well.
It is also interesting to note that the 04 is still fitted with the air-to-air refueling pods which proved very elusive when these were delivered earlier this year.
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