The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is carrying out Exercise Precision Red in final preparation for the deployment of C-130J Hercules aircrew in the Middle East.

The exercise, which began on 25 June 2010, involves two C-130J Hercules carrying out flight missions to airfields in the Shoalwater Bay and Townsville Field Training Areas.

A robust and advanced tactical transport, the C-130J Hercules can carry up to 128 personnel or up to 20t of cargo to remote and unsurfaced airfields.

Squadron Leader Shane Peacey said the Hercules was crucial to the Australian Defence Force when deployed on the front line.

During the exercise, joint battlefield airspace controllers will safely direct air traffic in the exercise areas.

Squadron Leader John Absolon said a concurrent activity, Exercise Precision Support, would deliver a deployed headquarters at RAAF Base Townsville and three working remote airfields in the training area.

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“It will take a multitude of skill sets to make Exercise Precision Support work – everything from airfield engineering and air load teams to communications and airfield infrastructure, as well as health, logistics, and information support,” he said.