Aircraft Military

Don’t Miss the Final Flight: Royal Air Force’s C-130 Hercules to Bid Farewell on June 17

Retirement of RAF C-130s scheduled last year; Hercules missions in the UK will be handed over to the Airbus A400M Atlas The prolonged service of the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules in the UK is reaching its end.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) has set the final mission of the transport aircraft in the country on June 17, which was planned last year. The C-130’s final task by the RAF will be a three-aircraft overflight of London during the King’s Birthday Parade celebrations (a public holiday in the UK and not King Charles III’s birthday).

All aircraft will be completely retired from the country by June 30th. Before being retired, the Belgian C-130 took its last flight as a symbolic farewell. The retirement of C-130 in the UK was already planned as a cost-containment measure in 2021, leaving no direct replacement.

However, the missions performed by the Hercules will be taken over by the Airbus A400M Atlas, of which the British have already ordered 22 aircraft and currently have 21 in operation. The RAF’s C-130J Super Hercules model is the most advanced version of the multi-role military aircraft. The UK’s fleet has a total of 15 aircraft, but only six remain in service as of now.

The retired aircraft are stored in Cambridge and will be sold to other air forces in the future. The UK was among the earliest foreign operators of the C-130 Hercules, a versatile aircraft that made its debut with the US Air Force in 1956.

The RAF received the first Lockheed freighters in 1966, and the latest J-series models were added to the fleet in 1999. Apart from the A400M, the RAF also operates the Boeing C-17 Globemaster and the Airbus A330 Voyager, both with heavy transport capacity and aerial refueling capabilities.

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