At around 7pm, and in total darkness, four United States Marine Corps (USMC) Bell Boeing MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft landed on the grass Runway at Bundaberg Airport after flying down from Townsville using the one radio callsign of "Skytrain 11" .
While the individual identities of the Ospreys are not currently known, it is believed that all four Ospreys that flew down from Townsville carry the tail code 'YZ' making them from the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 (VMM-363) ‘Lucky Red Lions’. They have previously spent time deployed in Townsville and visited Rockhampton a number of times in late May - see Blog posts below.
The Squadron is spending much of the year deployed to Darwin as a part of the 8th Marine Rotational Force Darwin (MRF-D). Several MV-22B Ospreys, along with Bell UH/AH-1 helicopters, arrived in Darwin via ship earlier in the year before being flown the short distance to RAAF Base Darwin.
After around an hour on the ground, all four Ospreys departed together and returned to Townsville again as "Skytrain 11".
But that wasn't the end of the action as soon after the Ospreys left, later on Friday 12 July, United States Marine Corps (USMC) Lockheed KC-130J Hercules 167926 (Tail Code QD-7926) "Sumo 96" and Lockheed KC-130J Hercules 169532 (Tail Code QD-9532) "Sumo 97" both returned to Bundaberg Airport for the second night in-a-row.
As with the previous night, they looked to also fly down from Townsville. After unloading some equipment including vehicles, they returned to Townsville. Of interest, 167926 (Tail Code QD-7926) "Sumo 96" also visited Williamson Airfield within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) earlier in the day.
As mentioned previously, both Hercs are of the Marine Aerial Refueller Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152) the 'Sumos'.
Sincere thanks to local plane spotters Isaac S and Dan B for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos and video!
Photos and videos taken by Russell Prothero, Isaac S and Dan B ©