Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Exercise Wallaby 2016 - The Final 2 RSAF F-15s Depart Rockhampton Airport - But Return Due to Re-Fuelling Problems

During the afternoon on Wednesday 5 October the final two of the six visiting Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Boeing F-15SG 'Shikra' Strike Eagles of 149 Squadron out of Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore - believed to be serials 8326 and 8332 - departed Rockhampton Airport.

They were heading to Darwin as "Singa 3609E-F" at the conclusion of their deployment to participate in the Singapore Armed Force's Exercise Wallaby 2016.  The departure of F-15s had been delayed since Monday 3 October due to (reportedly) maintenance issues.

However, soon after they departed, radio communications indicated that they were to return to Rocky via the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) where it is believed they burnt off fuel prior to landing.

It is believed that there were problems with the air-to-air refuelling system on the RSAF Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker which had flown from Darwin to 'drag' the F-15s North.

After completing some flying around Shoalwater Bay, both F-15s returned to Rocky some time apart as "Shikra 2" and "Shikra 1".

Meanwhile, after arriving the previous day, RSAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules '732' also departed Rockhampton Airport bound for Darwin on Wednesday 5 October shortly after the F-15s.

However, given that the Herc was most likely providing support to the visit of the F-15s, it too returned to Rockhampton Airport during the afternoon.  '732' was noted using the radio callsign of "SAF 9681".

All photos taken by Russell Prothero  ©

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