The RAAF’s C-130 Hercules transport commitment to operations in the Middle East (MEAO) has logged its 20,000th operational hour since the deployment began in February 2003.
The milestone was achieved by a C-130J of 37SQN in early March during an aeromedical evacuation (AME) flight in Afghanistan. “It’s a credit not only to the aircrew, but to the maintainers who keep the Hercs in the air and the support provided by Defence Materiel Organisation’s Air Lift Systems Program Office,” FLTLT Glen Foster, the pilot of that missionm, said in a statement.
The 20,000 hours have been achieved in 11,300 sorties, with more than 140,000 personnel and 31,000 tonnes of cargo carried by the aircraft in that time.
The RAAF initially commenced its MEAO deployments with C-130Hs based in Qatar, before the C-130Js were equipped with EWSP kits and were able to be deployed from 2005. Now based in the UAE, the C-130Js have assumed sole responsibility for the mission since 2008, with the three aircraft currently flying a total of about 150 hours a week.