If there is one crucial element to Australia’s contribution to the international campaigns in the Middle East, it has to be the Hercules C‑130J.
Source: Royal Australian Air Force
Major General John Cantwell, AO commands all Australian Defence Force units deployed in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) assigned to Operation Slipper, as well as those forces assigned to Operation Kruger in Iraq and says that the aircraft has a vital role to play.
“We couldn’t do our mission without them,” he says.
Based in the United Arab Emirates, the ADF has three Hercules C‑130J aircraft currently in operation and have been continuously part of the action in the Middle East since early 2003. In fact, the airborne workhorses recently exceeded 20,000 flying hours supporting Australian and Coalition troops. The significant milestone was reached during a mission to aero-medically evacuate Australian soldiers wounded in an Improvised Explosive Device strike in late March.
“In the time that the C‑130s have been operating here, they’ve flown more than 11,300 missions,” Major General Cantwell explains.
“They’ve moved more than 140,000 troops – that’s like 6500 footy teams and they’ve moved more than 31,000,000 kilograms of stores and equipment which is the same as moving 30,000 Holden Commodores or Ford Falcons… it’s a fantastic achievement.”
Royal Australian Air Force