In this year of the Air Force 2021 Centenary, 37SQN will celebrate 55 years of C-130 Operations.
Actually, out of those 100 years the RAAF has operated C-130 Hercules medium lift transport aircraft for 63 years, with the first C-130A arriving at RAAF Richmond in 1958. The Australian Air Force was the first foreign country to be granted approval by the USA to operate the aircraft., which we have done, accident free over all those years.
The 12 x C-130A airframes, operated by No. 36 Squadron, were decommissioned in 1958, replaced by the upgraded C-130H model, again operated by 36SQN. In November 2006 the 12 x C-130H aircraft were transferred to the operational control of 37SQN. With the squadron now operating 12 x C-130H and 12 x C-130J-30 airframes the unit became the largest in the Air Force comprising approx 750 personnel.
The H model airframes were decommissioned in 2012.
No. 37 Squadron received their first of 12 C-130Es in August 1966, all of which remained in service until decommissioned in 2000 after 34 years accident free service, replaced by, commencing in 1999, 12 x C-130J-30 stretched Hercules airframes which remain in service to this current day.
37SQN’s 55 years of accident free C-130 Hercules transport aircraft is an outstanding tribute to the professionalism and expertise passed down through the generations of aircrew, maintenance personnel and support staff who have contributed to those accident free operations over those 55 years.
Friday 11 December 2020 saw the handover of command of 37SQN from WGCDR Ben Christie (Assoc member #288) to WGCDR Tony Kay (Assoc member #222).
I attended the ceremony and presented the outgoing CO with a C-130J print that highlighted 37SQN’s milestones 2018 ~ 2020. Those milestones included the squadron’s 75th Anniversary and the RAAF’s 60 years of C-130 Operations, both in 2018 plus the squadron’s 20 years of C-130J operations in 2019.
The No. 37 Squadron (RAAF) Association express our appreciation for the courtesy and assistance provided by WGCDR Christie during his tenure and look forward to ongoing cooperation from WGCDR Kay in the future.
37SQN C-130J-30 was one of the international Hercules crews at Andersen AFB, Guam participating in Operation Christmas Drop 2019, the world’s longest running humanitarian airdrop mission, delivering Xmas cheer to Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Northern Mariana Islands.
C-130E A97-190 on the ice at McMurdo base, December 1989. Continuing the tradition, a No. 37 Squadron C-130J Hercules, A97-442, flew from Hobart Airport 1,800 nautical miles across the Southern Ocean to the ice runway at Wilkins Aerodrome on 29 February 2020.
37 Squadron C-130J, A97-448 Jericho Demonstrator, has once again displayed the versatility of onboard satellite communications (SATCOM) links when a remotely controlled uninhabited aerial system (UAS) was piloted from the cargo compartment of the aircraft.
And, finally, due to the COVID~19 situation the squadron was unable to celebrate 20 years since the decommissioning of the C-130E model which served the Australian Government and the ADF for 34 years, attaining a total of 307,007.9 accident free flying hours.
A function had been planned for the date of the final C-130E flight, 14 November, to commemorate the transit of A97-160 to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook in Victoria, function cancelled do to the COVID~19 restrictions.
10 July 2020 ~ A glass cabinet has been installed in the 37SQN HQ building displaying squadron and association historical and commemorative memorabilia for perusal by squadron members, visiting foreign aircrew and dignitaries.
The display includes models of every aircraft flown by 37SQN since the unit was formed in 1943, plus aircraft models with commemorative tails markings.
The only aircraft model missing from the display at this time is the Boeing 707, flown by 37SQN between 1979 and 1981, when the 2 x B707 airframes were transferred to 33FLT, and intimately 33SQN in 1983. The model is being constructed at this time and will be added when available.
The display will provide an ongoing visual exhibition of 37SQN’s history, to be updated as historical occasions transpire or commemorated.
31 years after the squadron’s first C-130E resupply mission to the Antarctic region 37SQN C-130J-30 A97-442 touched down on Wilkins Airstrip.
The squadron’s first mission to the Antarctic was on 7 & 8 December 1989, when C-130E, A97-190, under the command of 37SQN CO Wing Commander Paul Moran, completed two shuttles from Christchurch to Mawson Base and return.
Australian Antarctic Division
A newly modified Hercules aircraft has landed at Australia’s glacial runway, Wilkins Aerodrome, marking one of its longest ever flights.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130J was able to complete the 6,900 kilometre return flight from Hobart using two additional external fuel tanks fitted beneath the wings.
Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Mr Kim Ellis, said the flight south to the 3.5 kilometre ice runway took about 6.5 hours.
“The Hercules delivered 780 kilograms of cargo to Australia’s expeditioners at nearby Casey research station,” Mr Ellis said.
“This is another great capability the Australian Antarctic Program now has to reach our stations, deliver cargo and provide medical support to our people working in Antarctica.”
Wing Commander Dion Wright, Commander Australian Contingent for Operation Southern Discovery, said the flight was one of the longest-range missions undertaken by an Australian C-130J Hercules.
“The additional tanks increased the Hercules’ fuel capacity from 19 to 27 tonnes, giving us the flying range to support missions such as this,” Wing Commander Wright said.
The plane carried extra fuel with it and the crew refuelled once on the ground at Wilkins.
“Using the C-130J provides additional capacity for the RAAF to support the Australian Antarctic Division than by relying on the C-17A Globemaster alone.”
The Australian Antarctic Program already uses Defence’s C-17A Globemaster for cargo operations, with six flights scheduled over this summer season.
The RAAF has been supporting the Australian Antarctic Program through Operation Southern Discovery since 2016.
Sad news with confirmation Coulson’s C-130Q Heavy Air Tanker 134, the one based at RAAF Richmond, NSW crashed in the Snowy Mountains, Peak View area. The American crew, Captain Ian H McBeth, First Officer Paul Clyde Hudson, and Flight Engineer Rick A. DeMorgan Jr. perished in the crash.
The No. 37 Squadron (RAAF) Association, on behalf of our Aussie C-130 fraternity, extend their sincere condolences to the families of the three US based crew who perished, plus the Richmond based personnel who have been assisting with TANKER 134’S ongoing operations .
Coulson’s also have another C-130 Heavy Air Tanker based at Avalon, Vic, grounded at this time pending her sister aircraft’s preliminary crash investigation.
The aircraft and crew(s) have been in Australia since November last year, contracted to the NSW Rural Fire Service, assisting in aerial fire fighting operations during the 2019-2020 bushfire emergency that has claimed 33 lives, including our US buddie aviators.
On 6 September 2019, No. 37 Squadron will celebrate 20 years since the arrival of the first C-130J-30 airframe, A97-464, commencing the replacement of the squadron’s older C-130E aircraft.
The C-130E airframes provided exceptional service over the 34 years from 1966 until the final airframe decommissioned with the arrival of A97-160 at the RAAF Museum, Pt Cook, Victoria in September 2000, where it remains to date.
The last 20 years has seen No. 37 Squadron transition from the ADF’s primary Strategic Medium Airlift Transport Squadron to now being the primary Tactical Medium Airlift Transport Squadron with significant airframes improvements including upgraded Flight Management Systems, Link 16 Tactical Datalink capability, SATNAV Communications as depicted below
Since 2003, No. 37 Squadron’s C-130J-30 Hercules have supported the Australian Government contribution in the war against terror with a permanent detachment of 2 airframes, aircrew, maintenance and administrative personnel in the Middle East Area of Operation (MEAO).
Story, written by Eamon Hamilton, Assoc Member #146, published in the Hawksbury Gazette this week:
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has helped deliver seasonal cheer to remote Pacific communities through its participation in Operation Christmas Drop 18.
The RAAF deployed a C-130J Hercules and crew – including 16 personnel from RAAF Base Richmond – to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to work alongside American and Japanese counterparts from December 5 to 18.
Together, they delivered 154 loads by parachute to communities in the Northern Marianas Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau. The RAAF’s own C-130J Hercules crew flew the longest missions to deliver 16 loads to seven island communities.
Each load delivered during Operation Christmas Drop can weigh up to 200kg. Crews conduct careful planning and precision timing to ensure the loads are safely delivered by parachute from the ramp of a Hercules.
The loads contain a range of items purchased or donated by participants, including construction materials, fishing nets, rice, soccer balls and school supplies.
FLTLT Nicholas “Bourkey” Bourke, RAAF Detachment Commander for Operation Christmas Drop 18, said it provided valuable experience for the participating crews. “After each drop, we get a fantastic response on the radio from the communities who really appreciate our efforts,” he said.
~~~~ On behalf of the 37SQN (RAAF) Association, congratulations Association member #199 Bourkey on leading a great effort. Other members of the crew included Pilot FLTLT Simon Mason and Loadmasters SGTs Karl Penny, Jamie Polzin and Mark Robinson. ~~~~~
A97-448 was the last C-130J wearing the light grey delivery scheme…but in August 2017 it succumbed to the sprayguns at Wagga. Here is the ‘before’ profile (circa June 2017) and the ‘after’ RAAF photo. Juanita Franzi Aero Illustrations
June 15, 2018 ~ C-130J-30 Fuselage Trainer handed over from manufacturer CAE to Air Mobility Group No. 37 Squadron, RAAF Richmond, NSW
CAE today announced that the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has accepted into service a new C-130J Fuselage Trainer (FuT). The C-130J FuT was officially handed over to the Royal Australian Air Force during a ceremony today at RAAF Base Richmond.
“Our C-130J Hercules are some of the busiest aircraft in Defence, and having a Fuselage Trainer relieves the burden of using a real aircraft to conduct essential training,” said Minister for Defence Marise Payne. “The Fuselage Trainer is an exact replication of the cargo bay and systems in a real C-130J Hercules aircraft, and will provide loadmasters with a purpose-built classroom ideal for training.”
The overall design and development of the C-130J Fuselage Trainer was led by CAE, which included leveraging simulation software from other C-130J training programs and tailoring the development to meet RAAF training requirements. Airbus Australia Pacific provided the physical hardware by using two ex-RAAF C-130H airframes, A97-010 & 012, to recreate the fuselage of the C-130J aircraft, and Lockheed Martin provided consulting services and spare parts used in the production of the fuselage trainer.
According to the Honourable Christopher Pyne, Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry, the C-130J Fuselage Trainer will play a key role in helping engineers and loadmasters design new load carrying techniques for the Hercules transport.
“The next-generation of vehicles and systems that can be deployed by the Hercules will utilise the Fuselage Trainer to determine what is the best practice,” said Minister Pyne.
“This new C-130J Fuselage Trainer will enhance operational availability of our C-130J fleet while enabling us to provide a safe, cost-effective and realistic training environment for our loadmasters and rear crew,” said an RAAF spokesperson. “In addition, we will now be able to network with our C-130J Full-Flight and Mission Simulator and other training assets to provide full-crew mission training and rehearsal in a virtual environment.”
CAE designed and manufactured the C-130J Full-Flight and Mission Simulator (FFMS) used by the RAAF at Richmond, as well as desktop trainers and instructor tools used as part of the C-130J ground school. In addition, under the Management and Support of Australian Defence Force Aerospace Simulators (MSAAS) program, CAE Australia provides a range of training services on site at RAAF Base Richmond, including academic, simulator and live flying instruction. CAE Australia will now provide maintenance and support services on the C-130J FuT.
“We are pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with the Royal Australian Air Force as their C-130J training partner, and delighted to work closely with Airbus and Lockheed Martin who provided valuable hardware and support that helped deliver this key project for the RAAF,” said Ian Bell, CAE’s Vice President and General Manager, Asia-Pacific/Middle East. “The RAAF continues to be one of the world’s leading air forces in the application of simulation-based training, and this new C-130J Fuselage Trainer is another example of the RAAF investing in new technologies and capabilities to best prepare their aircrews for operational missions and requirements.”