03/20/2015: On 11 March 2015, No 37 Squadron (37SQN) flew a six-ship formation of C-130J Hercules transport aircraft on a tactical training flight over rural New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, and western Sydney.
The purpose of the flight was to allow 37SQN to maintain currency in tactical formation flying as well as prepare for its role in forthcoming Operation SLIPPER Welcome Home Parades on 21 March 2015.
The flight on March 11 was also an opportunity for 37SQN and Air Mobility Group to utilisz a newly-installed Satellite Communications (SATCOM) capability, and demonstrate the C-130J airborne working environment to industry partners who support the aircraft.
Credit Video: Australian Ministry of Defence
In our interview with the commander of the Air Mobility Group Warren McDonald, he described the continuing and important role of the C-130Js in the RAAF.
We are looking not at just adding lift and tanking capabilities but are focused on how these traditional assets can connect to our forces in the battlespace and provided enhanced C2 and situational awareness for Australian and coalition warfighters.
We currently have disparate levels of communication capabilities across each platform within AMG.
To address this shortfall we are installing satellite links in 12 C-130Js by the end of 2016.
We are also working the ground station piece and are focused on having an AMG control center able to know where our aircraft are at all times in order to better support the force.
Similarly, we are focused on shaping a more effective rapid air tasking capability across the fleet and to do so we are adding significant situational awareness capabilities across our aircraft.
In doing so we will provide a very wide range of options for decision makers.
To your point about recrafting legacy assets as new air mobility aircraft enter service, the C-130J is a good example.
With broader lift needs now being met by the C-17s and the KC-30As we have the capacity to better tailor our training and capabilities, in the C-130J, to the needs of the Special Forces.