Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today visited RAAF Base Richmond to meet with the team who maintain Australia’s fleet of C-130 Hercules aircraft and inspect the simulator used to train pilots to fly these planes.
Mr Clare was briefed by the Commander of Number 84 Wing, Group Captain Donald Sutherland, on the maintenance and operation of the C-130 fleet, including their recent work during the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi.
“C-130s from RAAF Base Richmond flew more than 170 hours in January and February for flood and cyclone relief in Queensland,” Mr Clare said.
“They transported a range of cargo including an inflatable habitat for the residents of Emerald, groceries and water for the stranded city of Rockhampton. They also assisted in the evacuation of hospital patients from Cairns to Brisbane.
“There are three C-130J Hercules aircraft based at Al-Minhad in Dubai transporting goods and troops to Afghanistan.
“None of that work is possible unless the aircraft are well-maintained.
“I’m here today to thank the crews that fly the aircraft and the team that maintain them to keep them in the air.”
There are 24 C-130 Hercules aircraft based at RAAF Base Richmond, flown and maintained by Number 37 Squadron.
Mr Clare said the Hercules has a long history with RAAF Base Richmond, where the first C-130A variants arrived in 1958.
“Number 37 Squadron has been based here at RAAF Base Richmond since 1966, and in 2006 took over all of Air Force’s C-130 operations,” Mr Clare said.
“It supported operations in Vietnam including bringing wounded Australian soldiers home.
“After Cyclone Tracy they assisted with evacuations and have supported peacekeeping missions in East Timor and Iraq.”
Crews operating C-130s use two simulators based at RAAF Base Richmond to supplement their training. Mr Clare also inspected the simulators and was briefed on the training benefits of using simulators.
“The C-130H simulator is used up to 12 hours each week day, providing 2000 hours training annually for pilots and aircrews,” Mr Clare said.
“It provides all levels of training from initial pilot training to mission rehearsals before deployment to operational areas like Afghanistan.
“These simulators give personnel real world experience, without needing to get in an aircraft.
“That means they get the training they need without the cost or risk of training in a real plane.”
The simulators are maintained by CAE Australia, which is contracted by Defence to support 15 of the Australian Defence Force’s simulators.
Media contact: Korena Flanagan – 02 6277 7620