An Indonesian Air Force Hercules arrived at RAAF Base Townsville last month to participate in a training exercise to prepare for disaster relief missions.
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The C-130H took part alongside Australian personnel in the first Exercise Rajawali Ausindo since COVID-19. The last exercise took place in 2018 at El Tari Air Base, Kupang, West Timor.
The biennial exercise aims to promote interoperability between both nations’ air mobility capabilities so that they can respond to both military and non-military emergencies, including humanitarian crises. It took place between 25-29 September.
The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at more than 60 years.
In total, 48 have supported ADF operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, East Timor and Vietnam, and humanitarian disaster relief missions in Pakistan, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific.
Australia obtained its initial batch in December 1958, becoming the first nation to operate the aircraft outside of the US Air Force. The four-engine turboprop, medium-lift aircraft increased transport capability, and reduced reliance on piston-driven aircraft such as the C-47.
No. 35 Squadron Detachment Commander Squadron Leader Mitchell Beck said the two countries have had a nearly 30-year history of conducting this exercise.
“The exercise provides an opportunity to conduct airdrop training, and the practice of non-combatant evacuation operations. This allows us to share knowledge at the aviator level, enhancing our interoperability,” SQNLDR Beck said.
“Although different in many ways, our commonality in being responsive to disaster events and humanitarian crises around the Indo-Pacific was a large focus of the exercise. We enjoyed being able to showcase Townsville to the Indonesians.”
The crews participated in a variety of training activities including a series of cooperative airdrop missions. The aircraft offloaded training loads to a drop zone, using parachutes to slow the descent of the load.
Commanding Officer No. 33 Squadron, Indonesian Air Force Letnan Kolonel Teddy Suputra, said the week-long exercise was an important opportunity for the two countries to plan and brief together.
“It is important that we work together to deliver a safe and successful exercise,” Letnan Kolonel Suputra said.