Air Force Boeing develops ambulance capability

AME pallet trial loading on to Boeing. 40 SQN hangar, RNZAF Base Auckland.
The medium dependency pallet inside the Boeing 757. (AK10-0331-043)

18 June 2010

The Royal New Zealand Air Force is developing an Aeromedical (AME) (air ambulance) capability to enable patients to be transferred safely around the world in its Boeing 757 aircraft. As a result the 757 has become a unique multi-role aircraft capable of being used in various roles including VIP, passenger only, freight only, combination of passengers and freight and now the AME role.   

The AME platform will provide care for a wide range of situations from minor illness and injury to critical care. Due to its unique set up it has the ability to complete a bed to bed (hospital to hospital) transfer on one single stretcher.

It is designed as a roll-on roll-off palletised system and includes a High Dependency pallet for a critical care patient, work station pallet and medium dependency pallet that cares two patients.

The AME pallets were installed inside the Boeing 757 and test flown on Monday 14 June. The medical systems were tested in flight and with the exception of minor alterations to equipment and procedures it was very successful.

The Air Force Staff Officer Aeromedical Evacuation, Squadron Leader Jude Telford says, "Its been a long time in the planning and a huge milestone has been achieved to get to this stage. We had several health professionals (two doctors, one from Middlemoore Hospital Auckland and one from Bay of Plenty DHB Tauranga plus an ICU flight nurse from Care flight) aboard with us and they were very impressed with what we have achieved."

“The recent Antarctic operations to the Ross Sea ice shelf and the AME capability are examples of these roles. The AME capability is a National asset and provides choice and flexibility to the New Zealand government. It contributes greatly to New Zealand's range of defence outputs which could include, disaster relief, contribution to a military coalition; evacuation of injured NZ citizens in an area of sudden conflict (e.g. Thailand) or in response to a terrorist attack whether or not New Zealands nationals were involved", says Wing Commander Steve Hunt, AME Project Manager

It’s expected to be between 12 - 18 months before the capability is fully realised within NZDF.

Using the Air Force Boeing 757 gives New Zealand modern economic airline running costs while delivering military multi-role capabilities.


Background: Aircraft Boeing 757-200

Manufacturer: Boeing (USA)
Power plant 2 x Rolls Royce RB211535E4/4B turbofans
Length  47.32m
Wingspan  38.05m
Height  13.56m
Basic weight  57,180kgs
Gross weight  115,680kgs
Max payload   22,460 kgs
Max fuel   43,490L
Range   4000 nm (7400 km)
Cruising speed Mach 0.8 (850km/h at 10,675m)

Fleet History

40 Squadron RNZAF currently operates two Boeing 757 200 aircraft. The fleet undertakes operations to many points around the globe and flies a varied mission profile. The Boeing 757 provides a very flexible and reliable air transport capability that enables the Defence Force to achieve its objectives.

For further information please contact Squadron Leader Kavae Tamariki, Senior Media Adviser - Air Force 021 420 899.

This page was last reviewed on 19 January 2011.