Royal Australian Air Force celebrates 20 years of C-130J Hercules transport aircraft

C-130J Hercules aircraft from No.37 Squadron fly in formation over RAAF Base Richmond. Picture: Department of Defence
C-130J Hercules aircraft from No.37 Squadron fly in formation over RAAF Base Richmond. Picture: Department of Defence

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at Richmond, NSW, celebrate 20 years of C-130J Hercules transport aircraft ion spectacular fashion.

In September 1999, the first of 12 C-130J Hercules flown by No. 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond was delivered to Australia; the fleet has since amassed 137,000 flying hours.

The anniversary flypast headed to Barrenjoey Heads and RAAF Base Glenbrook. There was also a reunion of past members.

Group Captain Nicholas Hogan, Officer Commanding No. 84 Wing at RAAF Base Richmond, said the C-130J workforce had supported Defence on missions away from Sydney: "The nature of C-130J work is short-notice, dynamic, and requires the aircrew to be flexible and responsive to complex problems as they complete the mission."

"The C-130J has been continuously deployed to the Middle East region since June 2008," he said.

"Closer to home it has been an essential part of Defence responses to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, as well as to search and rescue support."

The crews of five No 37 Squadron C-130J Hercules which flew in formation to celebrate 20 years of C-130J operations in Australia. Picture: Department of Defence

The crews of five No 37 Squadron C-130J Hercules which flew in formation to celebrate 20 years of C-130J operations in Australia. Picture: Department of Defence

In recent years, the fleet has been upgraded with satellite communications, self-protection systems, and battlespace awareness.

"The capability of the C-130J fleet has grown significantly, with future upgrades to include high-bandwidth satellite communications being installed on six aircraft," Group Captain Hogan said.

"We've worked hard to evolve this airframe over the last 20 years, and it will continue to support Defence operations in the future."

Hawkesbury Gazette