A Hercules C-130J detachment from RAF Brize Norton is based in the Middle East to carry out vital supply runs in support of the UK Operations across the Middle East.
The RAF Hercules detachment, consisting of aircraft and personnel from both 47 and 24 Squadrons, together with individual augmentees, are deployed to provide a tactical air transport capability that provides air mobility in challenging and austere conditions.
“The C-130J has provided the backbone to the RAF’s tactical airlift capability in the Middle East since the start of Operation Shader in 2014. We routinely operate under the cover of darkness to deliver critical support across both to Operation Shader and Operation Kipion enabling operations to continue in the ongoing fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.”
Squadron Leader Fairley
C-130J Detachment Commander
Each Hercules sortie typically involve not just the aircrew, but RAF Force Protection, Ground Engineers and Mover personnel to make the flights self supporting. This means that for each flight the ground engineers, will routinely on arrival conduct essential checks and carry out maintenance. The RAF Regiment Gunners will deploy to provide security for the aircraft, while the movers will load and unload passengers and cargo at any of the destination around the Middle East.
“As a Ground Engineer I accompany the aircraft wherever it may go around the world, providing engineering support and to address any issues that may arise when we are away from our main operating base. The ability for Ground Engineers to fly with the C-130 gives the flexibility to cover everything from flight servicing and refuels to fix and sign for almost any job required. This is essential to ensuring the aircraft delivers its operational tasking in support of counter Daesh operations in the Middle East.”
On average the detachment moves over 200 troops into theatre and up to 40 tonnes of freight in support of the mission each month. The freight ranges from critical aircraft and vehicle spares, COVID-19 Vaccines and real-life support kit for the deployed forces.
The C130 detachment also supports Operation Kipion, the long-standing UK commitment that aims to promote peace and stability within the Broader Middle East by supporting the naval coalition that is ensuring the safe flow of trade, countering narcotics and piracy.