The RAAF’s Townville based 38SQN has taken delivery of its final new build King Air 350 Interim Light Transport from local distributor and in-service support contractor Hawker Pacific, adding to the four new build aircraft and the three King Airs the squadron took over from the Army’s 173SQN.
The aircraft are leased from Hawker Pacific as a temporary replacement for the retired Caribou tactical transport until a new battlefield airlifter is acquired and enters service from 2015.
“No 38 Squadron’s success with the King Air is the result of a ‘one team’ Defence/industry approach at RAAF Base Townsville, in which Air Force personnel are working closely with Hawker Pacific staff,” Minister for Defence Materiel and Science Greg Combet said in a statement. “Hawker Pacific and the Defence Materiel Organisation’s Training Aircraft Systems Program Office deserve credit for their efforts in providing very effective support. It delivers the opportunity for Air Force to train new pilots and technicians on an aircraft with modern avionics and turboprop engines, and then transition these personnel to bigger and more complex platforms, such as the C-130J, C-17, Wedgetail, and soon, the KC-30A. At the same time, No 38 Squadron is providing an operational capability.”
Added Doug Park, Hawker Pacific’s senior vice president Australian operations, “This has been a real team effort between the Air Force, DMO and Hawker Pacific and a significant achievement for each organisation and those individuals involved. It’s a great feeling to be part of the successful establishment of this important capability – on time and within budget!”
Australian Aviation featured a profile on 38SQN and its transition from the Caribou to the King Air in our June 2010 issue.