Australia — Exercise Combined Strength takes Hercules to Norway

A con­tin­gent of 15 Air Force per­son­nel have jour­neyed to the Arc­tic Cir­cle for an inter­na­tion­al exer­cise focused on the C-130J Her­cules trans­port air­craft.
Exer­cise Com­bined Strength 2011 is being con­duct­ed at Bodø Air Force Base in Nor­way from 19–25 March. The exer­cise is open to coun­tries that oper­ate C-130J air­craft, and will this year fea­ture par­tic­i­pants from Den­mark, Aus­tralia and the host nation Nor­way.

Air Com­modore Gary Mar­tin, Com­man­der Air Lift Group, said the Her­cules sup­ports Aus­tralian Defence Force tasks across the globe.

“In 2010, our C-130s flew from Aus­tralia to as far as con­ti­nen­tal Unit­ed States, Swe­den, through­out South East Asia, and the Pacif­ic,” Air Com­modore Mar­tin said.

“At the same time, we remain com­mit­ted to oper­a­tions in the Mid­dle East, where our C-130J crews face con­di­tions that run from below freez­ing in Afghanistan to above 50 degrees Cel­sius in Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates.”

As evi­denced with Aus­tralian C-17A Globe­mas­ters cur­rent­ly oper­at­ing in Japan in sup­port of Oper­a­tion Pacif­ic Assist, the oper­at­ing envi­ron­ment for Air Force’s Air Lift Group varies sig­nif­i­cant­ly.

“The diver­si­ty in our oper­at­ing envi­ron­ment makes par­tic­i­pat­ing in Exer­cise Com­bined Strength 11 all the more impor­tant,” Air Com­modore Mar­tin said.

The Aus­tralian con­tin­gent will meet with fel­low C-130J oper­a­tors at Bodø, where nations will present the lat­est meth­ods and prac­tices for oper­at­ing the Her­cules.

“The Aus­tralian con­tin­gent will be there to deliv­er pre­sen­ta­tions on our train­ing struc­ture, which includes how we devel­op and pre­pare our air­crew and main­te­nance pro­fes­sion­als.

“They’ll also par­tic­i­pate in fly­ing exer­cis­es that include search and res­cue prac­tice, day and night-time oper­a­tions, air­drop mis­sions and cold weath­er sur­vival.”

Australia’s No. 37 Squadron oper­ates 12 C-130J Her­cules at RAAF Base Rich­mond, along­side a fleet of sev­en old­er C-130Hs. The C-130J is the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of the Her­cules design and has been in Aus­tralian ser­vice since 1999 and is con­tin­u­ing to be devel­oped in ser­vice. Today’s C-130J is sim­i­lar in exter­nal appear­ance to the C-130Hs, but has more pow­er­ful engines, mod­ern avion­ics and nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems.

Future devel­op­ments include Defence pro­grams to upgrade the C-130J with new hard­ware and soft­ware under a block-upgrade pro­gram, and instal­la­tion of addi­tion­al elec­tron­ic war­fare self-pro­tec­tion equip­ment.

Media Con­tact:
Eamon Hamil­ton, Air Lift Group Pub­lic Affairs Offi­cer (02) 4587 3844
Defence Media Oper­a­tions 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

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

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