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January 31, 2013
AFTER a 13-year hiatus, Wallaby
Airlines has returned to Air Force.
At RAAF Base Richmond, 35SQN
was quietly re-established on January
14. CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown wel-
comed the return of the unit, which
had served extensively in World War II
"The re-establishment of 35SQN
will see it prepare for our fleet of 10
C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlift air-
craft due to arrive in Australia from
2015," AIRMSHL Brown said.
"35SQN has provided combat air-
lift for Australia in several conflicts,
and the C-27J is ideally suited to con-
tinue this legacy of support for person-
nel deployed on combat, peacekeeping
or disaster relief operations."
Wallaby Airlines is back
WGCDR Brad Clarke has taken
the reins of 35SQN as its new CO,
with an initial workforce of 25 which
will grow to more than 200 over the
next few years.
"Our first tasks are to work with
the Battlefield Airlift Transition Office
to map the required workforce struc-
ture, operating procedures and intro-
duction plan for the C-27J Spartan,"
WGCDR Clarke said.
"35SQN will send the first aircrew
and maintenance personnel to train on
the C-27J in the US in mid-2014.
"Once in service, our C-27Js
will greatly increase the number of
airfields Defence can operate in to,
increase the level of fixed-wing sup-
port available on the battlefield, and
synchronise with the existing C-130J
Hercules and C-17A fleets."
John McDougall, President of the
RAAF Transport Flight Vietnam and
35SQN Association, looks forward to
seeing 35SQN return to the skies.
"To see the old squadron carry-
ing on the good work that we did, it's
made us past members very happy,"
Mr McDougall said.
A retired engine fitter and load-
master/flight engineer who served
three tours of Vietnam with the
Caribou, Mr McDougall was enthusi-
astic that 35SQN would be equipped
"The Spartan won't get in to as
many strips as the Caribou did, but the
performance will make it a lot safer in
some areas, especially with the heat
and altitude in places like Papua New
Guinea," Mr McDougall said.
Meanwhile, the first Spartan for
35SQN is taking shape in Italy.
Last December, the fuselage for
the C-27J -- which will receive the
serial A34-001 -- arrived at the Alenia
Aermacchi plant in Turin in northern
The aircraft's fuselage was con-
structed in Naples, just south of Rome.
The journey north took the fuselage
by flatbed truck to the Port of Naples,
where it travelled by sea freight to
Genoa, and then by road to Turin.
As part of the final production, the
C-27J will be mated with its wings,
engines and other flying surfaces
before emerging later this year.
GPCAPT Steve Young, Director
of the Battlefield Airlifter Transition
Office, explained each C-27J would
emerge from Turin as a 'green'
Spartan, without its advanced mission
"Each C-27J will be flown from
Italy to Texas, where it will receive
additional equipment from L-3
Communications," GPCAPT Young
"This includes key communication
equipment and electronic warfare self-
protection systems, which are essen-
tial for their job on the battlefield."
EXCITING: The first C-27J
fuselage taking shape in Italy.
Photo courtesy Alenia
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