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New C-17 infrastructure telescopic docking capability at RAAF Base Amberley

Photo of Telescopic docking system in No. 36 Squadron hangar facility (photo courtesy of CPB).
Telescopic docking system in No. 36 Squadron hangar facility (photo courtesy of CPB).

The Air Force’s $219.4 million C-17 infrastructure project has provided a maintenance facility, working accommodation, an aircraft apron and associated facilities at RAAF Base Amberley.

The project includes a state-of-the-art telescopic docking system, the first of its kind in Australia, which was successfully commissioned in the new No. 36 Squadron hangar facility in 2019.

The system comprises two telescoping masts with working platforms that are suspended from a special crane trolley. The platforms are lowered to the hangar floor to allow maintenance personnel to enter, and can then be moved to any required position on the aircraft exterior.

These ‘tele-platforms’ can be used on a wide variety of aircraft, making them much more versatile than traditional hangar platforms. They can carry six personnel and their equipment, and are fitted with breathing air, pneumatic air and electrical power to support a broad range of maintenance tasks. Their design enables significantly better access to the C-17A than legacy elevated work platforms, thanks to their size, stability, removable barriers and built-in harnesses. A range of safety systems prevent the platforms from striking the aircraft, significantly reducing the risk of inadvertent damage.

The hangar itself has state-of-the-art services including in-ground power, aircraft cooling air, and ground support equipment exhaust extraction. The facility also includes a new tool store, a logistics warehouse, avionics and mechanical workshops, storage for spare engines and ground support equipment, a new paint booth and surface preparation facility, a new welding bay, a metal and composite fabrication workshop, and additional office space and briefing rooms. No. 36 Squadron now has permanent protection from the elements when conducting maintenance, providing a welcome boost to productivity, efficiency, safety and morale.

This project, including the tele-platform system, gives No. 36 Squadron an enhanced functionality and maintenance capability that will continue well into the future. It has been delivered through Defence industry partners RPS Group and CPB Contractors.