Here at Casey research station we have many different types of vehicles. Broadly, they fall into two categories, ones for moving around station and ones that are used to take off the station limits and out into the vast wilderness that is Antarctica. We all really like the ones that take us out and about, away from station, so here’s a bit of information about them.
Quad Bike: The smallest vehicle we have down here, but one of the most useful. These quads are used to support a range of projects and never let us down, they’re super simple and get the job done. Survival gear strapped to front frame and other essentials on the back and you’re ready to go. They get fitted with heated hand grips and plugs for our helmets so they can be powered up to stop ice forming on the visor. The only drawback to a quad is it’s a little cold at −20!
Hãgglunds: Not the prettiest vehicle in the world but just about the most capable. Combine the fact that all four tracks are driven through an ingenious drive line system with the fully articulating central hitch and you have the ultimate off road vehicle. These were originally made for the Swedish Army but now the Australian Antarctic Division gives them a full overhaul in Hobart before they head down here. Nice and warm in the cab as you explore the icy continent, what could be better? Antarctic Expeditioners love Häggs.
Tractors: If you’re going off station, and you have a load to haul then you’ll need a tractor, and like most things in Antarctica, they’re big!
Case Quad Tracks are the chosen tractors for the work around the ice runway and Wilkins and the Ski Landing Area. They have lots of traction and will haul quite big loads. Special ice spikes get screwed into the tracks to give grip on the blue ice Wilkins runway.
The Caterpillar Challenger is a traverse specialist. Used by multiple countries on the southern continent for inland traversing into areas unknown. The Challenger at Casey was used in the last year to set up an ice core drilling camp at Law Dome, it hauled the entire deep field camp to support a team of scientists 120km away from station at an altitude of 1400 meters.
Scott King, Station Mechanical Supervisor