US Air Force MC-130J Commando II Returns to New South Wales for Exercise Teak Action 22
US Air Force MC-130J Commando II Returns to New South Wales for Exercise Teak Action 22

US Air Force MC-130J Commando II Returns to New South Wales for Exercise Teak Action 22

U.S. Air Force MC-130J Commando II aircraft will conduct training across New South Wales from August 1 to 26 for Exercise Teak Action 22. For local communities, flying activity will be similar to that conducted by RAAF Hercules aircraft training at regional airfields throughout the year, which includes day and night-time flying at low level. The exercise will be based at RAAF Base Richmond, and will focus its flying activity in Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains, RAAF Base Williamtown and parts of central New South Wales. Due to the dynamic nature of the exercise, prior notice of flying times and routes for Exercise Teak Action cannot be publicised.

The MC-130J Commando II aircraft is similar to the C-130J Hercules transport aircraft operated by the RAAF, with exercise participants training to deliver people and equipment in challenging scenarios. This includes preparations to ensure both Australia and the United States can support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations at short notice. This training will strengthen the close ties between the RAAF and the U.S. Air Force’s 353rd Special Operations Wing, which has deployed from Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa for the exercise. This will be the fourth time Exercise Teak Action has been conducted from RAAF Base Richmond since 2018.

United States Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group MC-130J Commando II aircraft on the RAAF Base Richmond flightline during Exercise Teak Action 21.(Photo by CPL David Said/Australian Government Department of Defence)

The Lockheed Martin MC-130 is the basic designation for a family of special mission aircraft operated by the United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), a wing of the Air Education and Training Command, and an AFSOC-gained wing of the Air Force Reserve Command. Based on the Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport, the MC-130s’ missions are the infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces, and the air refueling of (primarily) special operations helicopter and tilt-rotor aircraft. The first of the variants, the MC-130E, was developed to support clandestine special operations missions during the Vietnam War.

The MC-130J, which became operational in 2011, is the new-production variant that is replacing the other special operations MC-130s. As of May 2016, the Air Force has taken delivery of 33 of the planned 37 -J models. The MC-130J Commando II multimission combat transport/special operations tanker, assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), delivers increased combat performance to the warfighter with its more powerful engines and unique features. The MC-130J primarily flies missions at night to reduce probability of visual acquisition and intercept by airborne threats. Its secondary mission includes the airdrop of leaflets.

No. 1 Security Forces vehicles are lined up behind a United States Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group MC-130J Commando II on the RAAF Base Richmond flightline as part of a training scenario during Exercise Teak Action 21. (Photo by CPL David Said/Australian Government Department of Defence)