USAF special-ops C-130J Ghostrider trains in Oz for first time

The Royal Australian Air Force recently welcomed the USAF’s Air Force Special Operations Command’s (AFSOC) 23rd Special Tactics Squadron (23rd STS), and 17th Special Operations Squadron (17th SOS) to RAAF Base Richmond, with their AC-130J Ghostriders, for Exercise Teak Action.

CAPTIONTwo RAAF PC-21 aircraft, from 4 Squadron, conduct sorties with the United States Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider aircraft from 17th Special Operations Squadron during Exercise Teak Action. Story by Tastri Murdoch. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Samuel Miller.

The annual bilateral Australia and United States special operations exercise ran from June 11 to July 1 and included missions around the Hawkesbury region, RAAF Base Williamtown and the Singleton Military Area.

In its fifth iteration since 2018, Exercise Teak Action provided key training opportunities for the RAAF’s 4 Squadron Combat Control Team (CCT) and 35 Squadron (35SQN) to work with their AFSOC counterparts.

4 Squadron and the 23rd SOS engaged in dry-fire serials designed to train joint terminal attack control (JTAC) and forward air control – airborne (FAC-A) specialists in a range of scenarios and mission roles.

Commanding Officer 4SQN Wing Commander Steven Duffy said Exercise Teak Action was also an opportunity for 4SQN’s PC-21 and 35SQN’s C-27J Spartan to train with the 23rd STS and 17th SOS.

“It was a chance for the RAAF and the USAF to conduct formation flying, landing zone survey and close air support training that maintains our interoperability,” Wing Commander Duffy said.

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CAPTION: A RAAF combat controller, from 4 Squadron, patrols during a training serial on Exercise Teak Action at Singleton Training Area, NSW. Photo: Leading Aircraftman Samuel Miller.

This is the first time an AC-130 Hercules gunship has operated in Australia since its introduction into the USAF inventory in the 1960s.

The AC-130J Ghostrider used during Exercise Teak Action is a C-130J Hercules modified for special operations roles.

AC-130 gunships have an extensive combat history over the past four decades, with the USAF deploying them to hotspots worldwide in support of special operations and conventional forces.

Wing Commander Duffy said training with the AC-130J Ghostrider was beneficial for RAAF personnel.

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CAPTIONSquadron Leader Peter Kastenmaier operates the weapons systems on board a US Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider during a mission over RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Samuel Miller.

“We’ve learnt about the capability of the aircraft, and the support framework required for the aircraft to base in Australia and project throughout the region,” he said.

Exercise Teak Action gave American and Australian personnel the chance to build on established working relationships and ensure both nations are prepared to give short-notice response to tasks in the Indo-Pacific region.

“4SQN has been particularly impressed with the professionalism and operational focus of the service men and women from both 17th SOS and 23rd STS,” Wing Commander Duffy said.

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CAPTIONTwo RAAF PC-21 aircraft conduct sorties over the Newcastle region with the US Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider from 17th Special Operations Squadron. Photo by Leading Aircraftman Samuel Miller.





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One thought on “USAF special-ops C-130J Ghostrider trains in Oz for first time

  • 19/07/2023 at 11:04 am

    WHY is the A.D.F. DETERMINED to continue fighting 20th Century Warfare?

    WHERE IN GODS NAME is the A.D.F. planning to fight in an uncontested A.D. environment?

    ”Spooky” is ONLY good for murdering 3rd World fighters without ANY form of A.D., and surely we have finally run out of farmers and goat herders to invade and bring ‘Freedumb’ to?

    If these weapons systems are so good, why won’t the Yanks send any to Ukraine?
    Easy answer, because they would be a burning ball of wreckage before they got with-in 100klm of the front lines!

    Like Australia’s and the U.S. Abrams Tanks, the C130’s are a protected Species, are to avoid any danger and are anathema to a modern Military and Battlefield.

    Meanwhile we march closer and closer to defeat against the P.L.A. in a War we refuse to avoid.

    Neutrality for Australia.



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