Wallaby Airlines returns to RAAF with Spartans
No. 35 squadron has been re-established at RAAF Richmond in readiness for the delivery of the RAAF’s 10 C-27J Spartans in 2015.
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown welcomed the squadron’s re-formation, saying: “No.35 Squadron has provided combat airlift for Australia in several conflicts, and the C-27J is ideally suited to continue this legacy of support for personnel deployed on combat, peacekeeping, or disaster relief operations.”
35SQN, last based in Townsville operating the Caribou before disbanding in 2000, will be under the command of Wing Commander Brad Clarke, who said the squadron’s first tasks will be to work with the Battlefield Airlift Transition Office to map the required workforce structure, operating procedures and introduction plan for the C-27J. The first aircrew and maintenance personnel will be sent to train on the C-27J in the US during 2014.
“Once in service our C-27Js will greatly increase the number of airfields Defence can operate in to, increase the level of fixed wing support available on the battlefield, and synchronise with the existing C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster fleet,” WGCDR Clarke added.
Dubbed Wallaby Airlines after its callsign ‘Wallaby’ during the Vietnam war, 35SQN’s Caribou aircraft carried around 677,000 passengers and 36 million kilograms of freight without fatality during that conflict.
The newly re-established 35SQN will initially comprise 25 personnel, which will grow to around 250 once the C-27Js arrive.