With the Singapore Armed Force’s Exercise Wallaby 2019 in the final stages, local plane spotter Steve V was on hand at Rockhampton Airport during the late afternoon on Friday 1 November and captured some great photos as the various Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) helicopters and aircraft completed perhaps their final sorties to and from the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA).
The RSAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules '734', which deployed into Rockhampton Airport at the beginning of the Exercise, was photographed arriving and then departing as it has been operating 2-3 or more daily sorties to Shoalwater Bay and back to Rockhampton Airport as a part of the Exercise.
Of interest, the Herc is one of six C-130H aircraft which are flown by the RSAF's 122 Squadron "Condors" based at the Paya Lebar Air Base (PLAB) in Singapore. The squadron goes by the motto of "Dependable".
During its sorties out of Rockhampton Airport, the herc has been using the radio callsign of "Rider".
The four RSAF Aerospatiale / Eurocopter AS332M Super Puma helicopters also continue to complete various daily flights from Rockhampton Airport to Shoalwater Bay and back. They are again being heard to use their 'usual' formation radio callsign of "Diamond" and "Ruby", with single flights again as "Starling".
As mentioned previously, all four Super Puma helicopters are reportedly flown by the RSAF's 126 Helicopter Squadron "Cougar" (126 SQN). Their motto is "Ready and Able", with the Cougar adopted as the squadron's motif.
Formed initially on 16 September 1992 at Sembawang Air Base in Singapore, the 126 SQN consisted of newly purchased Cougar helicopters, which were an upgraded version of the Super Puma helicopters then used by its sister squadron – 125 SQN. 126 Squadron was based at the Oakey Army Aviation Centre, supporting the Singapore Armed Force's training needs in Australia, however over the last year, the Squadron moved back to Singapore with Boeing CH-47D Chinook helicopters now deployed to Oakey on a full-time basis.
The four RSAF Boeing AH-64D Apache helicopters continue to fly out as singles and in formations of two (as shown) or even four, completing sorties to Shoalwater Bay and back to Rockhampton Airport.
The Apaches have again heard to be using their ‘usual’ radio callsign of "Avon" and "Atom".
As mentioned previously, all four Apache helicopters are flown by the RSAF's 120 Squadron "Kestrel" (also known as the "Red Hawks") based at Sembawang Air Base in Singapore. The Squadron is the first and oldest RSAF operational squadron in service, first formed in 1969. The squadron goes by the motto of "Strive To Achieve".
And after deploying direct from their base at Oakey, the RSAF Boeing CH-47D Chinook helicopters also have been completing sorties to Shoalwater Bay and back as singles and in flights of two (as shown).
The Chinooks have been heard to be using their 'usual' radio callsigns of "Celtic", "Concorde" and "Cyclops".
Also as mentioned previously, the Chinook helicopters are flown by the RSAF's 127 Helicopter Squadron which is based at the Sembawang Air Base (SBAB) in Singapore, however as mentioned, with a detachment at Oakey.
The squadron goes by the motto of "Strength, Courage, Swiftness", the motto is supported by the squadron motif, a white horse in full battle armour.
Finally, it appears that the third and final 'wave' of heavy jet troop charter flights are due to touch down at Rockhampton Airport early next week. It is being reported that Royal Brunei Airlines and Air New Zealand will be operating these charter flights once again.
It has also been reported that a RSAF Airbus A330-243 / KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft could also be visiting Rockhampton Airport over the weekend with a possible overnight stay.
This would certainly be a most welcome surprise visitor!
It is also expected that the following week will see the first of two visits by the Volga-Dnepr Antonov AN-124-100 RA-82044 to transport the RSAF helicopters back to Singapore.
Exercise Wallaby first started in 1990 in Rockhampton and is a Singapore Army exercise based within the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) as well as at Rockhampton Airport. This year will reportedly see as many as 4000 Singapore Armed Forces personnel participate in the Exercise.
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Sincere thanks to local plane spotter Steve V for taking the time capture and send through these great photos!
All photos taken by Steve Vit ©️