Australia — Air Force Hercules crews get ready for Red Flag

Air Force Her­cules crews have been hon­ing their skills ahead of the world’s most real­is­tic air­borne exer­cise. From Feb­ru­ary 21 to March 15, they’ll par­tic­i­pate at Exer­cise Red Flag 11–3 at Nel­lis Air Force Base in Neva­da, fac­ing the world’s most com­pre­hen­sive air­borne warfight­ing sim­u­la­tion.

An 88-strong Aus­tralian con­tin­gent from RAAF Base Richmond’s No. 37 Squadron will oper­ate a pair of C-130H Her­cules trans­port air­craft. The Her­cules have left RAAF Base Rich­mond, and were sup­port­ed in the tran­sit by a C-17A Globe­mas­ter.

Red Flag 11–3 is coor­di­nat­ed by the Unit­ed States Air Force and fea­tures an exer­cise space over 24,000 square kilo­me­tres of desert north of Las Vegas.

C-130H are each pow­ered by four-tur­bo­prop engines and can lift up to 20-tonnes of car­go, or 92 pas­sen­gers. Fly­ing along­side fight­ers, sur­veil­lance air­craft and tankers, they will face the world’s most real­is­tic sim­u­lat­ed war­zone.

Wing Com­man­der Mark McCal­lum, Com­mand­ing Offi­cer No. 37 Squadron, said the C-130s would fly tac­ti­cal air­lift mis­sions at Red Flag.

“Despite our Squadron hav­ing a busy start to 2011 with civ­il aid task­ing, we’ve man­aged to bal­ance some intense prac­tice for the mis­sions we’ll face at Red Flag,” Wing Com­man­der McCal­lum said.

“No oth­er exer­cise in the world has the same lev­el of com­plex­i­ty in its exer­cise area, and no oth­er exer­cise deliv­ers the same expe­ri­ence.

“The Her­cules will be fly­ing day-time and night-time mis­sions, and could drop para­troops by sta­t­ic-line or freefall, or land on a desert airstrip to pick up per­son­nel.

“With the right escort, right tac­tics and team­work amongst all the play­ers, our crews will get through the exer­cise area unscathed and com­plete the mis­sion suc­cess­ful­ly.

“It’s our chance to demon­strate our skill among the best Air Forces in the world, learn new tac­tics and meth­ods of oper­a­tion, and hone our skills at oper­at­ing the Her­cules in a high-threat envi­ron­ment.”

Air Force is also send­ing a team of eight from RAAF Base Williamtown’s No. 4 Squadron, pro­vid­ing close air sup­port and tac­ti­cal land­ing zone recon­nais­sance. They’ll also oper­ate along­side a 20-strong team from Army’s 2 Com­man­do Reg­i­ment.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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