Aircraft Military

Saying Goodbye to a Legend: Royal Air Force to Retire C-130 Hercules on June 17

Retirement of RAF C-130s planned for last year; Airbus A400M Atlas to take over Hercules missions in the UK The lengthy service of the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules in the UK is approaching its end. June 17th has been designated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as the final day of operation for the transport aircraft in the country.

To mark the occasion, the RAF Hercules will conduct a three-aircraft flyover of London during the King’s Birthday Parade celebrations (a public holiday in the UK and not King Charles III’s birthday). The complete removal of the aircraft from the country is slated for June 30th. The retirement of the C-130 in the UK was planned for 2021 as a cost-cutting measure.

Therefore, these aircraft currently do not have a direct successor. Instead, the missions of the Hercules will be transferred to the Airbus A400M Atlas, of which the British currently have 21 aircraft out of 22 on order.

The RAF operates the C-130J Super Hercules model, the most recent version of the multi-role military aircraft. In total, the country’s fleet consists of 15 aircraft, of which only six are still in service. The decommissioned aircraft are being stored in Cambridge and must remain there until they are sold to other air forces.

The UK was among the first foreign operators of the C-130 Hercules, an aircraft that made its debut with the US Air Force in 1956. The RAF received its first Lockheed freighters in 1966, with the latest J-series models added to the fleet in 1999. In addition to the A400M, other RAF aircraft with heavy transport capacity that are still in operation include the Boeing C-17 Globemaster and the Airbus A330 Voyager, which can also provide aerial refueling services.

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