Indonesian military officials have jetted out of the southern NSW town of Wagga in their
revamped cargo plane, as partof a trade deal worth tens of millions of dollars. The burly plane is the first of five ex-RAAF aircraft to be sent to Indonesia, as part of an agreement between our countries signed in 2013.
Indonesian Airforce Lieutenant Colonel Suryo Anggoro led the 14-man crew's visit to
maintenance hangar Douglas Aerospace, which was charged with the restoration of the Hercules C130. "The painting is very beautiful," Lt. Col. Anggoro told 9NEWS. "It will help a lot ... very exciting.
" The Australian Government agreed to sell the 1960s aircraft to Indonesia four years ago, for what then-Defence Minister
Stephen Smith labelled as a discounted rate. While the Hercules are believed to be worth more than $30 million, Defence spokespeople are yet to confirm the purchase price of the aircraft, as well as a
simulator and spare parts also part of the package.
Avionics Technician Jacob Rye has been working on the plane since it arrived two months ago. "It had been sitting around for a
while before that, but we've done quite a bit of deep level maintenance in there," Mr Rye
said. "We've now got it up to a flying
standard." The Hercules’ vast interior was
gutted, with each component painstakingly restored. "A lot more involved than your
normal flight line maintenance.
It's a full service," he said.
There was plenty to be repaired, with the plane built to carry tonnes of pallets, vehicles and generators, or up to 120
passengers. "It's been very cool actually. I
have a military background so I still get very excited hearing the planes take off." While the Indonesian officials were proud of their purchase, they were in no rush to get
home. "I am quite enjoying Wagga," Lt.
Col. Anggoro said. "Everybody here is very nice and friendly, we've been so
welcome." There was a very crowded flight
deck when the Indonesian crew did leave, with more than a dozen crew members packing the front of the Hercules. It's since touched down at Sydney's Richmond Air Force Base, where it will have the final
spit and polish before jetting off