A97-464 is the first C-130J-30 to be handed over to the RAAF

07 Sep 1999

The introduction of the C-130 Hercules into the RAAF greatly increased the capability to transport cargo and people in a variety of situations. The versatility of this aircraft is demonstrated by the sheer number of air forces utilising it to this day as well as the fact the RAAF has been using the C-130 in four different variants (C-130A, C-130E, C-130H and now the C-130J-30) as its main transport aircraft for over six decades.

By 1965 Australia was heavily reliant on the capabilities of the C-130 to assist with the Vietnam War efforts. It carried out an array of transportation roles, the most notable being the repatriation of killed and wounded Australians back to Australia. Of the 3,164 repatriations by RAAF, the C-130 performed most of them.

Evacuation of people and cargo is not limited to military or war-related events. The C-130s were made available on standby after Cyclone Tracy (1974). Between August 1989 and December 1989 ‘RAAF Airlines’ transported 172,287 civilian passengers in an effort to assist with the Australian domestic airline dispute. In October 2002, five C-130s assisted with the response to the Bali bombings and four C-130s were involved with Operation Sumatra Assist in 2004.

C-130 aircraft have been flown by No's 36 and 37 Squadron.

The C-130 remains in service today, making it the longest serving RAAF aircraft type.

To learn more, download this extract from Aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force by David Richardson and Peter Wood.

Related aircraft

  • Hercules