The Indonesian and Royal Australian Air Forces have begun the C-130 Hercules aircraft interoperability exercise, Rajawali AusIndo, at RAAF Base Darwin to further enhance personnel capabilities, safety practices and operational methods.

The C-130J Hercules transport aircraft from No. 37 Squadron at RAAF Base Richmond and No. 31 Squadron at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base in Jakarta will participate in the exercise.

During the exercise, to be held from 1-6 December 2011, aircrew from both nations will conduct cargo airdrop and airborne missions to respond more effectively to future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

RAAF Commander Air Lift Group air commodore Gary Martin said that the exercise was aimed at improving airlift mission skills that involve airlift training and practice drops of equipment and supplies, as well as information exchanges between Australian and Indonesian Air Force personnel.

"The C-130 forms an important part of both our respective defence forces,for its ability to carry useful loads of cargo into short, semi- prepared airstrips and deliver that cargo with the minimum of support infrastructure," Martin added.

The C-130J Hercules is a Lockheed Martin-built, heavy-lift tactical cargo and personnel transport aircraft that is powered by four Allison AE2100D3 turboprop engines and can accommodate a payload of up to 20t or more than 90 passengers.

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By GlobalData

Australia and Indonesia have been flying the C-130 models since 1958 and1960 respectively and used the aircraft extensively during Operation Padang Assist in South Sumatra in 2009, and Operation Sumatra Assist I & II in 2004-2005.

The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard recently promised to gift up to four surplus C-130H aircraft to Indonesia.