Monday, July 26, 2021

United States Marine Corps (USMC) Lockheed KC-130J Hercules 169227 (QD-9227) "Sumo 87" Calls into Rockhampton Airport

On Monday 26 July, United States Marine Corps (USMC) Lockheed KC-130J Hercules 169227 (Tail Code QD-9227) was spotted again in the region, this time photographed visiting Rockhampton Airport.

The Herc was flying as "Sumo 87" and had earlier flown down from Townsville to complete exercises off Fraser Island before then flying down to RAAF Base Amberley.  It then returned to the exercise area off Fraser Island and then flew up to Rockhampton Airport where it landed for a refuel.

"Sumo 87" then departed Rockhampton Airport and returned direct to Townsville.

Of interest, 169227 (QD-9227) is one of two Hercs that have been deployed to Townsville during joint Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 (TS21) and are flown by the Marine Aerial Refueller Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152) the "Sumos".

The other - as has been reported on here frequently - is Lockheed KC-130J Hercules 168075 (Tail Code QD-8075) and has been mostly operating as "Sumo 86" also out of Townsville.

Sincere thanks to the local plane spotters for allowing us to share these great photos!

Photos taken by Scott Harris, Steve Vit and Ash Burggraaff  ©

The Two United States Air Force (USAF) Lockheed MC-130J Commando II Hercules Aircraft - 10-5714 “Hogan 23” and 14-5793 “Hogan 24” - Spotted at Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport

On Monday 26 July, I was lucky enough to photograph the two visiting United States Air Force (USAF) Lockheed MC-130J Commando II Hercules aircraft parked at Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport.  They had arrived into the Whitsundays late on Sunday 25 July from RAAF Base Amberley.

The two Hercs have been identified as 10-5714 "Hogan 23" and 14-5793 "Hogan 24" and are believed to be flown by the 1st Special Operations Squadron (1 SOS) which is part of the 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base in Japan.

They had originally arrived into the region at Bundaberg Airport last week, flying across from RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.  It was interesting to note that while at Tindal, the Hercs operated alongside United States Army (US Army) special operations helicopters - two Sikorsky MH-60M Black Hawks and a single Boeing MH-47G Chinook - from 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (160th SOAR (A)).

Defence Image...

It appears the MH-47G Chinook called into Cairns Airport, also on Monday 26 July, arriving from Hughenden as "Jude 63".


Some Photos from the Combined Military Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 Open Day at the Catalina Wharf at Bowen on Sunday

With the amphibious phase of the Combined Military Exercise talisman Sabre 2021 (TS21) in full swing, an Open Day was held at the Catalina Wharf at Bowen on Sunday 25 July.  The event was a chance for the community learn more about the soldiers that have been a noticeable presence in town during the last few days.

Overhead, United States Marine Corps (USMC) Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters 169496 (EP-43) and 168049 (EP-49) kept and eye on proceedings including completing a couple of spectacular low passes to kick off the afternoon.

Australia Army M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carriers, G-Wagons and Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) were the main attractions, along with personnel from many of the participating ground forces providing information not only about their roles in the Exercise but also giving the public a chance to get up close and personal with various weapons and other military equipment.

The activities in Bowen kicked off on Friday 23 July with troop insertions from sea and by air, followed by urban operations involving collaboration between the Australian Army, United States Marine Corps (USMC) and Japan Ground Defence Forces, who conducted night operations to secure a remote town and airfield.  All activities culminated on Monday 26 July when troops completed embarkation into HMAS Canberra and HMAS Choules from King's Beach at Bowen.

This was the first time Australian, United States, Japanese and UK amphibious forces have operated from the same ship.  Once embarked, forces will sail for the Coral Sea where they will conduct maritime warfare training.

The exercise is a major undertaking for all countries involved, who have continued to perform cooperative demonstrations between all military personnel, sharing their skills and knowledge to demonstrate cooperative defence capabilities.

Activities in the final week of the exercise will see airfield seizure and assault missions conducted by soldiers from the US Army's 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) and 25th Infantry Division in Charters Towers.

This includes a display from 150 Alaskan based 'Spartan Brigade' paratroopers, who will light up the sky at Lakeview Station, West of Charters Towers, as they execute their tactical manoeuvre from a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing C-17A Globemaster III for the first time.

Wrapping up the week, soldiers from all seven nations will conduct the amphibious stage of TS21 in a mock assault involving armoured vehicles, air operations and beach landings at Forest beach near Ingham and at Lucinda.

Exercise Talisman Sabre, the largest bilateral combined training activity between the Australia Defence Force and Unites States Military, has entered it's final week in north Queensland.

The Talisman Sabre involves multiple field training exercises which incorporate force preparation (logistic) activities, amphibious landings, ground force manoeuvres, urban operations, air combat and maritime operations.

In addition to our US counterparts, the 2021 exercise has invited participation from Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with approximately 17,000 military personnel participating on land, sea and air throughout its duration.

Occurring every two years, the exercise is designed to challenge participating military personnel with planning and conducting combined and joint task force operations to improve combat readiness between respective forces.