The RAAF has marked 800,000 flying hours by its Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules fleet over five decades with a formation flight by three 37SQN C-130J aircraft over Sydney Harbour on Wednesday.
“Behind this milestone is the contribution of many talented men and women who have made these 800,000 flying hours possible,” Commander of Air Mobility Group Air Commodore Warren McDonald, said.
“Several generations of Australians have contributed to this achievement, regardless of which Hercules they worked on.”
The RAAF has operated a total of 48 C-130s in four different variants (C-130A, E, H and J) since 1958. Today 12 C-130J-30 Hercules are operated by 37SQN from RAAF Base Richmond, the home of all Australian Hercules operations since the type’s first delivery to the RAAF. The C-130Js entered service from 1999 and have since flown over 100,000 flying hours in RAAF markings.
Over the decades RAAF C-130s have supported ADF operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, East Timor and Vietnam, and humanitarian disaster relief missions in Pakistan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific, as well as throughout Australia.
“For 56 years, they have flown people and cargo to where they’re needed, often under tough conditions, and proven a welcome sight for many,” AIRCDRE McDonald said.
The Hercules looks to be a common sight in Australian skies for some time to come, with a planned withdrawal date for the RAAF’s C-130J fleet of 2030.