A puma salient - the design embodies firstly the squadron's history as a unit of the Independant Air Force and later as a Night Bombing Squadron. Secondly, Tenacity of Purpose, illustrated by the gallantry of daylight raids on Germany during the First World War and the tenacity required by aircrew of Night Bombing aircraft. Hence the selection of the Black Puma as the main emblem; independant in its habits and credited as being of the nobler beast of prey.
Quisque Tenax - 'Each One Tenacious'.
Current Aircraft and Location:
Current Aircraft: C17-A Globemaster III
Current Location: RAF Brize Norton
Western Frontier 1918*, Independant Force and Germany 1918, Mahsud, 1919-1920, Waziristan, 1919-1920, German Ports, 1940-1941, Baltic, 1940-1941, France and Low Countries, 1940, Fortress Europe 1940-1942*, Ruhr 1940-1942*, Berlin 1940-42*, Biscay Ports, 1940, Arakan 1942-44, Burma 1944-45, Manipur, 1944, Eastern Waters 1945.
(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)
History of 99 Squadron:
No 99 Squadron was formed on 15 August 1917 at Yatesbury, Wiltshire, from a nucleus supplied by No 13 Training Squadron, Royal Flying Corps. In April 1918, the squadron was equipped mainly with De Havilland DH9 aircraft, and was deployed to France to operate as a light bomber squadron. The squadron took part in seventy-six strategic bombing missions directed at German industrial targets for the remainder of the First World War. In September 1918, the squadron was re-supplied with DH9A bombers and in May 1919 was deployed to India to take part in aerial policing duties over India's Northwest Frontier. On April 1920, the squadron was disbanded by being renumbered to No 27 Squadron.
In 1924, No 99 Squadron reformed at Netheravon in Wiltshire and was equipped initially with the Vickers Vimy heavy bomber, and then the Avro Aldershot single-engined. These aircraft were replaced in succession by Avro's Hyderabad, Hinaidi and, in 1933, the Avro Heyford. During 1938 the squadron converted to the Vickers Wellington bomber, an aircraft it would operate for the majority of the Second World War.
On 8 September 1939, No 99 Squadron entered WW II with the first of many leaflet-dropping missions over Germany. The first bombing raids were launched on 17 April 1940 during the German invasion of Norway. European bombing operations continued until January 1942 when, once again, the squadron was deployed to India. From its base at Digri, No 99 Squadron commenced night bombing raids against Japanese targets in Burma. In September 1944, the squadron received its first American-manufactured aircraft, the Consolidated Liberator VI long-range bomber. Equipped with this new aircraft, in July 1945 the squadron deployed from Dhubalia to the Cocos Islands in preparation for the possible invasion of Malaya. In November 1945, following the Japanese surrender, No 99 Squadron was disbanded.
In 1949, No 99 Squadron reformed as a transport squadron equipped with Avro Yorks based at RAF Lyneham, and it took part in the Berlin Airlift. The Handley Page Hastings followed in August of that year. During the Suez crisis in 1956, the squadron operated out of Cyprus and dropped paratroopers on Port Said. In 1959, No 99 Squadron commenced worldwide strategic transport operations with its new Bristol Britannia aircraft. In June 1970, the squadron moved to RAF Brize Norton, where it remained until 6 January 1976, when it was disbanded following the 1974 Defence White Paper.
In July 1998, the Government's Strategic Defence Review detailed a requirement for an aircraft capable of deploying the Joint Rapid Reaction Force. Specifically, the aircraft would need to be able to carry outsized loads such as helicopters and large military vehicles.
In Nov 2000, 99 Squadron was reformed to operate the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. The first of the squadron's four initial C-17s was delivered to the RAF on May 17 2001, arriving at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire on May 23. One of the first high profile missions of the squadron was the deployment of Lynx helicopters and support equipment to Macedonia as part of a NATO peacekeeping force. This deployment was codenamed Operation Bessemer.
Since then, the squadron has been actively involved in support of other operations such as Op TELIC (Iraq), and currently Op HERRICK (Afghanistan). The first mission flown into Iraq by 99 Squadron was on May 21 2003; the destination was Tallil airbase. Subsequent missions were flown into Basrah International airport. With its highly capable fleet of C17s, 99 Squadron has been involved in a variety of other roles including Specialist Aeromedical Evacuation (34 missions in 2009), Repatriations and Humanitarian Relief (2004 Asian Tsunami, 2010 Chilean earthquake, 2010 Pakistan floods).
The C-17 has become an essential component of the UK Strategic Airlift requirement and the original 4 leased aircraft were bought by the Ministry of Defence in 2008 along with an additional 2 identical platforms. The fleet will be complimented by a seventh aircraft in Dec 2010.