A true test of combat air mobility skills is coming for Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C‑130 Hercules aircraft and crews on their way to Exercise Air Warrior II.
Held out of Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas from April 18–26, Air Warrior II will see personnel support and fly the Hercules in a simulated frontline environment to deliver troops and cargo.
A C‑130H and C‑130J Hercules from No. 37 Squadron will depart RAAF Base Richmond for the exercise on April 13. A contingent of 88 Australian personnel will participate alongside their United States military counterparts.
Air Warrior II features day and night-time missions which take place in a training area filled with airstrips, drop zones, and a host of simulated enemy threats.
Wing Commander Matt Hegarty, Commanding Officer of No. 37 Squadron, said Air Warrior II is an excellent opportunity to further develop the skills of Air Force and Army Air Dispatch personnel in a joint environment.
“Our success in Air Warrior II will be judged on how we safely and effectively perform our combat air mobility role as a coalition partner,” Wing Commander Hegarty said.
“Our participation in Air Warrior II is part of how we’re able to successfully integrate with coalition partners on real-world operations. Through this exercise we learn from people with the skills and experience in conducting high intensity air mobility operations.”
“While they’re flying their missions, our Hercules crews can expect to face ground-borne threats which are simulated through pyrotechnics, and be judged on their mission success by an independent observer who will fly with them.”
Meanwhile, maintainers and operational support personnel must face the pressures of keeping the Hercules ‘on line’ whilst they defend against ‘enemy’ ground forces.
The RAAF has more than half a century of operating different models of the C‑130 Hercules in the air mobility role, and continues to refine and develop its abilities.
“Air Warrior II allows us to maintain our high standards by utilising training facilities in the United States which are unlike what we have back home,” Wing Commander Hegarty said. During the exercise, RAAF and Army personnel will also have the unique opportunity to conduct an Anzac Day commemorative service.
Royal Australian Air Force
Flight Lieutenant Eamon Hamilton (02) 4587 3844 or 0429 868 794