Air Force Hercules practise tactical formation skills Tuesday

A quartet of Air Force’s C-130J Hercules transport aircraft will conduct a series of tactical transport missions at low level over central New South Wales on October 22.

The first mission will see the Hercules depart in pairs from RAAF Base Richmond in Sydney’s northwest from 11.20am. The pairs will climb to an altitude of 3600 metres and head southwest, uniting as a four-aircraft formation over Yass.

The formation will overfly Young and Cowra above 3600 metres before descending to an altitude of 75 metres above ground and travelling north at low-level over central New South Wales, to the west of Bathurst and Orange.

The formation will turn south to conduct a simulated delivery of paratroops north of Mudgee before handing towards Londonderry Drop Zone in Sydney’s northwest to airdrop cargo at 1.20pm, and arrive back at RAAF Base Richmond at 1.30pm.

The second mission will see the Hercules follow the same route, departing RAAF Base Richmond at 3.30pm and arriving back home at 6pm. A map of the route with timings is available above.

This training mission is subject to amendment, delay or cancellation, pending aircraft availability and other tasking requirements.

Operated by No. 37 Squadron, the C-130J is the Air Force’s premier tactical airlifter, with each aircraft capable of carrying up to 20 tonnes of cargo or more than 100 passengers.

Wing Commander Darren Goldie, Commanding Officer of No. 37 Squadron, said the mission followed on from a similar training sortie that had been flown in June.

“We frequently fly the Hercules on training missions over central New South Wales, and we couldn’t do this without the continued support of the local community,” Wing Commander Goldie said.

“This mission will allow us to qualify an additional two captains to lead a four-aircraft formation, and provide essential experience for our crews.”

The C-130J is typically operated as single aircraft, but the retirement of the C-130H Hercules in late 2012 led to a requirement for C-130J crews to be qualified in formation flying.

“It’s a skill which requires practice from the crews in order to do safely and effectively,” Wing Commander Goldie said.

“A formation of Hercules is essential to us providing Defence with a large concentration of personnel and cargo over a short space of time.”

“For the last 55 years, the Defence community has counted upon Air Force’s Hercules crews to fly to dangerous environments around the globe.”

This year has marked the 70th anniversary of the formation of No. 37 Squadron, which has supported Defence operations in New Guinea, Vietnam, and the Middle East Area of Operations.

It has also proven critical during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, providing aero-medical evacuation during the 2013 Queensland floods, airlift to the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake, and extensive Search and Rescue support off the Australian coast.

Source / Author: RAAF

Photo: RAAF