Another busy day around Rockhampton Airport on Sunday 24 June as the joint Military Exercise Hamel 2018 continues in the nearby Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) including the arrival during the afternoon of a 'different' pair of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Alenia C-27J Spartan transport aircraft.
This pair were identified as A34-010 which arrived from Shoalwater Bay as "Wallaby 05". It is believed to have touched down at Rocky for the first time on Friday 22 June flying in from RAAF Base Amberley as "Wallaby 03".
And A34-003 which also arrived from Amberley but as "Wallaby 44".
It's been great to see four different examples of the C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifter during Exercise Hamel 2018. The Spartan is a military transport aircraft developed and manufactured by Alenia Aermacchi. The RAAF recently took delivery of its tenth and final C-27J Spartan after they were ordered by in May 2012 to replace the now-retired De Havilland DHC-4 Caribou fleet.
The RAAF C-27J Spartan aircraft complements the capabilities of the current C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft and uses common C-130J Hercules infrastructure and aircraft systems such as engines, avionics and the cargo handling systems. They will be equipped with missile warning systems, electronic self-protection and battlefield armour allowing them to operate freely in high-threat environments.
The current 10 Spartan aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Richmond initially before being based at RAAF Base Amberley and operated by 35 Squadron. Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the C-27J was achieved in December 2016, while Final Operating Capability (FOC) is now scheduled to be declared in late 2019.
Meanwhile, another RAAF visitor into Rockhampton Airport on Sunday 24 June was Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet A37-003 which visited for the second day in a row, this time arriving from and later departing back to Canberra as "Wisdom 95".
Finally, also on Sunday 24 June, Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) NH Industries MRH-90 Multi-Role Helicopters continue to pop into Rockhampton Airport with Navy MRH-90 A40-043 again visiting as "Poseidon 43" which Army MRH-90 A40-011 completed multiple visits as "Warhorse 11".
Reports suggest that the main simulated ground-battle of the Exercise occurred over the weekend within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area so it would appear that movements at Rockhampton Airport may start to slow down over this coming week. And then of course, there should be some heavy jet movements during the latter part of the week and into the weekend as the various personnel and equipment return 'home'. Stay tuned!
Sincere thanks to local photographer Russell P for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!
All photos taken by Russell Prothero ©