Lockheed C-130E Hercules
A97-159, No. 37 Squadron, RAAF Base Richmond
In November 1964, the Australian Government announced the purchase of a second squadron of C-130 Hercules from the United States, and in February 1966, No. 37 Squadron was re-established at RAAF Base Richmond to operate these new Hercules. The first of 12 C-130Es, A97-159, arrived in Australia in August 1966.
The greater range and payload ability of No. 37 Squadron’s C-130E over No. 36 Squadron’s C-130As led the ‘E-model’ to become the primary strategic airlift platform for the Royal Australian Air Force. Almost immediately, C-130Es began flying courier services to South Vietnam, which included the return of wounded Diggers to Australia.
No. 37 Squadron C-130Es conducted a multitude of tasks around the globe, including supporting Australian peacekeeping contingents in the Sinai (1976-79 and 1982-86), Kashmir (1975-78); Somalia (1993) and East Timor (1999-2000). The C-130E was also a key part of the response to Cyclone Tracy in Darwin (1974) and the Fall of Saigon (1975), which included the evacuation of Vietnamese orphans under Operation ‘Babylift’. Over a 34-year career, No. 37 Squadron amassed 307,007.9 flying hours with its C-130E fleet without an accident. In 1999, the new generation C-130J Hercules was introduced to No. 37 Squadron as a replacement for the C-130E, and in November 2000, the final two C-130Es were retired from Australian service.Juanita Franzi
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