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End of an era C-130H tail art revealed

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 12, 2012
A97-005's new tail art. (Dept of Defence)

The RAAF has revealed a C-130H featuring colourful tail art to mark the looming retirement of the type from RAAF service this month.

37SQN C-130H A97-005’s tail art features a silhouette of a C-130H against a orange and yellow sunset, the 36 and 37SQN badges, and the legend ’34 Years of Serving Australia’.

“We have deployed these aircraft in support of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor, and used them to evacuate Australian citizens from Cambodia in 1997,” Commander Air Lift Group Air Commodore Gary Martin said.

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“They have left a considerable record of accomplishment, and one which all men and women who have worked on this aircraft can take great pride in”

A reunion for past and present members of the C-130H community will be held at RAAF Base Richmond on November 24.

The eight operational C-130Hs of the original 12 strong fleet will then be retired from RAAF service on November 30.

 

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14 Comments

  • BH

    says:

    Does anybody know if one is going to Point Cook for preservation after they are retired…?

  • Air Observer

    says:

    I bet there is still life in the old girls yet. I can see one of our neighbours snapping them up. After all, Australia has been maintaining them!

  • Andrew McLaughlin

    says:

    I think one is slated for Point Cook

  • BH

    says:

    @ Air Observer.. From what I’ve read in past news articles, most of them are headed for Indonesia. The govt donated 4 and sold another 4 or so to the Indonesian govt. They’ll probably need a full refurbishment

  • Dane

    says:

    Apparently it’s somewhere around the $25million mark for each aircraft to be restored to flying condition. They’ll go through a full overhaul returning them to 0 airframe hours effectively before being taken by Indonesia. The work is set to be completed to at RAAF Richmond by Qantas Defence so at least they’ll have their jobs for another 12-18 months.

  • Blind Monkey

    says:

    A few months ago, at the C-130H handover ceremony to the Indonesian Government at either RAAF Richmond or Amberly from memory, I was somewhat taken back by the remarks of one of the senior Indonesian military officers officiating. During a TV interview about the donation of, and maintenance required on these aircraft he remarked, with a smile on his face, that “there is always strings attached to any donation made by Australia” (I’m quoting as best as my memory recalls. It was certainly close to the above).

    My immediate thought was, if it’s all too hard then perhaps the Indonesian Government ought to ask Lockheed Martin to sell them some bright new shinny Hercules that won’t require any remedial maintenance at all. I’m certain LM would be only to happy to knock up a few and sell them at the going rate!

  • John N

    says:

    Dear Blind Monkey,

    Far be it for me to ever defend the statements of any Indonesian Military Officer, but he is probably correct about “strings attached”.

    Firstly, any ex-military equipment that we have originally purchased from the USA and intend to sell to a 3rd party requires their approval, and of course, any restrictions that the USA would place on that sale/transfer too.

    Secondly, in the case of the 4 free H’s that we are “gifting”, the “spin” from the Goverment in the various media releases has been stated as saying: “Australia is very pleased to make this contribution to Indonesia’s airlift capability, which will support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.”

    Without knowing the details of the agreement, I could imagine that the restrictions would relate to their use in a “Military” sense, eg, yes you can use them for “disaster relief”, but not for a military operation against separatists in West Papua or some issue that might arise in Timor, etc.

    At the end of the day it was up to the Indonesians to accept those restrictions, or not!!

    What is going to be interesting is if the proposed sale of 6 of theretired H’s goes ahead, in that case the Indonesians will be paying for both the aircraft and the upgrades, so in that case, yes it will still require approval from the USA, but there may be less restrictions as to their end use.

    Cheers,

    John

  • Radar

    says:

    What are we replacing the H model with.More J models ,or more gov downsizing of the military.

  • John N

    says:

    Radar,

    The simple answer to your question is the C130H have been replaced by the C17A’s.

    To give you a time line on the changes to the story of the H models in Air Lift Group (ALG), its basically this:

    * Up until and including the 2006 Defence Capability Plan (DCP), Air 8000 Phase 1, the plan was to either replace or extend the H model life to around 2020.

    * Early 2006 the LNP Government ordered the first 4 C17A’s, part of the trade off at that time was to “retire” 4 of the H model Hercs.

    * By the time of the 2009 DCP, a new Government too, Air 8000 Ph 1 had been changed to retiring the remaining H models at around this time anyway and acquire two additional J models which would have an IOC in the period 2013-15.

    * This all changed again in the 2011 DCP, a decision to purchase a 5th C17A saw the deletion of the plan to acquire the two additional J’s.

    * At the time of the delivery of the 5th C17A a 6th was ordered and just recently delivered.

    So that’s it in a nutshell!!

    If you want to have a look at a recent article on Air Lift Group, have a look at the following link:

    http://www.airforce.gov.au/News/Air_Force_Newspaper

    It will take you to the “current” issue of Airforce Newspaper, but if you scroll the bottom, click on the “archive” button and select the “November 8th” issue, see pages 14-18.

    You can read it at your leasure, but there are a couple of interesting stats that I’ll repeat below regarding the changes in the fleet in the period from 2006 to 2016:

    * 2006 – 47 Aircraft – capacity for 3775 passengers – carry 656 tonnes of cargo.

    * 2016 – 46 Aircraft – capacity for 4321 passengers – carry 950 tonnes of cargo.

    * Average age of the ALG fleet down from 24 years to 9 years.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d never defend this stupid Government in a pink fit with what it has done to the defence budget.

    But of all the various branches of the RAAF and the ADF generally, if one group was asked the question if they were satisfied with their capability, I think ALG would have to be the one.

    Cheers,

    John

  • Radar

    says:

    Thanks for the info and link John.I suspected the C-17 purchase had something to do with this deal.Another 6 of the jets would be ideal.

  • John N

    says:

    Radar,

    No problem, hope the info and link was helpful to you. Also have a look at the Defence web site, you can read the various Defence Capability Plans, etc, lots of information is available.

    Your statement of “another 6 of the jets would be ideal”, well if the Government lifted Defence spending from its current 1.5% of GDP to say 2.5% of GDP and sustained it at that level, I’d say, sure great idea!

    It’s just not going to happen, under current levels of spending which part of the ADF would you want to give the chop to? Another 6 aircraft, plus crewing, spares, basing upgrades, etc, would set the budget back about $2 Billion, but that’s only the tip of the ice berg.

    Everyone should remember when Brendan Nelson announced the purchase of the F/A-18F’s at a “cost of $6.1 Billion” Everyone’s heads nearly fell off!

    The $6.1Billion was actually the cost of purchasing and “ownership” over a 10 year period, the actual aircraft purchase cost was less than a 1/3 of that total.

    If another 6 C-17A’s, with a life span of 30 years were purchased, we would probably have to add another $4-5Billion (might be less, might be more) to the budget over that period to sustain them.

    And that’s the big problem with the way the Defence budget has been cut, it’s not just being able to purchase equipment, but being able to sustain it, so much of the budget allocation is just that, sustainment.

    I read recently that by around 2020 the cost of sustainment for the 6 Collins Subs is going to be close to $1 Billion a year!!

    With the way the guts have been cut out of Defence budgets I’m more worried about what the ADF might have to “give up” soon.

    More of anything would be nice, but even less across the whole ADF is not!!

    Cheers,

    John

  • Liefcatt

    says:

    yep there is one now at point cook, i was lucky enough to be on base when the beauty flew in

  • Liefcatt

    says:

    yes, one of these aircraft is now in point cook, i was lucky enough to be on the base when this beauty landed.

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