Three Case IH tractors are preparing to embark on an epic journey from their Australian paddocks to Antarctica next month.

It’s been a journey two years in the making, but three Case IH Steiger 500 Quadtracs (which are currently in Tasmania) are undergoing final preparations for their trip next month to Antarctica, where they’ll be used to support the Australian Antarctic Division’s (AAD) aviation operations at Wilkins Blue Ice Runway, 70km inland from Casey Station, and also at the Casey Ski Landing Area, 15km from the station.

The tractors arrived into the Port of Melbourne from the United States in September and then made the trip across Bass Strait to Tasmania, where they travelled by road to Case IH dealership TTMI at Longford, just south of Launceston, in preparation for their journey by ship to Antarctica later this month.

“This is a process that has taken several years because it’s not simply a case of delivering three of our regulation Steiger models. To withstand the unforgiving environment they’re heading to, and carry out the work they’re required to do to the very highest standard, they needed some critical modifications,” said Jason Wood, Case IH ANZ Steiger Product Manager.

“They’ve had the likes of arctic hoses installed in key areas and heaters added for the warming of the coolant and engine oil before they’re started each time. The fuel tanks have even been tripled in size to increase their versatility.”

Once in Antarctica, they’ll be involved in the likes of runway maintenance, fuel and cargo transport from Casey to Wilkins; and general sled towing and heavy vehicle recovery.

Since the Steigers have arrived in Tasmania, they’ve been undergoing some final updates and testing, along with training for the Antarctica-based operating team.

Pete McCann, General Manager of Case IH Australia/New Zealand, said the request had been a completely unique new one for his team, who’d enjoyed preparing the Steigers for something so far removed from their usual farming environment.

“It will be a proud moment when they’re finally loaded onto the ship in Hobart for their new home and their new job on the frontline of the important scientific work being undertaken in Antarctica.”

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