Australian Aviation photographer Craig Murray has captured the moment an Antonov An-124 took off from Brisbane Airport on Saturday, bound for Rockhampton, after being chartered from Singapore.
The four-engined Ukrainian jet was reportedly transporting Singapore Defence Force Apache AH-64 helicopters from Singapore to Rockhampton ahead of Exercise Wallaby, which is due to begin on 10 September at the Shoal Water Bay Training Area.
The aircraft, UR-82008, departed Seletar Airport in Singapore just before 11pm on Friday, 3 September, and landed in Brisbane at 8:26am on Saturday, following a 7.5-hour trip.
Then, 24 hours later, on Sunday 5 September, the An-124 performed the short jaunt to Rockhampton Airport.
Craig was standing by to snap this picture of the aircraft departing from Runway 01R at Brisbane, bound for Rockhampton as ASB3920.
UR-82008 performed a return trip to Brisbane and is now currently en route to Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh at the time of writing.
According to Defence, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will be operating C130, AH-64D Apache and CH-47D Chinook out of Rockhampton between 10 and 24 October as part of its annual overseas training exercise.
Exercise Wallaby, held at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, was inaugurated in 1990, and is Singapore’s largest overseas training operation.
The Shoalwater Bay Training Area, which is currently undergoing expansion, is about four times the size of Singapore and allows training of a scale and complexity that cannot be done in Singapore.
In 2019, Exercise Wallaby involved about 3,000 SAF troops, including those from armour and guards, as well as the Republic of Singapore Air Force. The exercise also allows for bilateral training with the Australian Defence Force.
Last year’s operation was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This specific Antonov An-124, UR-82008, is no stranger to Australian shores.
In February this year, Australian Aviation photographer Dave Soda was on hand to catch the moment the 34-year-old Antonov An-124-100M arrived in Melbourne to pick up mining equipment.
UR-82008 has departed Johor Bahru Senai, Malaysia, on 19 February at 10:18am as flight ADB3725 and landed in Perth at 3:42pm.
The next day, it departed Perth for Melbourne, arriving at 12:49pm on 20 February. UR-82008 departed the Victorian capital on 21 February to head to Darwin, before continuing on to Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Meanwhile, earlier in November 2020, Australian Aviation reported how the same UR-82008 arrived in Brisbane to collect classic F/A-18A Hornets from Williamtown for delivery to Canada, which had purchased them to boost their own air force.
Local reports said the acquisition cost of the aircraft was C$90 million ($95 million), while a total of C$500 million ($525 million) had been budgeted for the acquisition, which will also include spares and the fitting of unspecified “Canadian-specific equipment” and upgrades.