Royal Air Force Marks C-130 Hercules Fleet Retirement With Flyby

The UK Royal Air Force performed a flyby to mark the retirement of its C-130 Hercules military transport fleet at the end of June.

During the event, a three-plane formation flew over locations associated with the Hercules fleet and its 47 Squadron operators.

A stand-down parade led by the squadron was conducted before the ceremonial flight.

Throughout decommissioning, the 47 Squadron Standard will be temporarily laid at RAFC Cranwell College Hall.

The C-130 Hercules

The Royal Air Force’s first C-130 arrived in Cambridge in December 1966.

Since its deployment, the aircraft has conducted international missions to support the UK armed forces and other non-combat operations such as humanitarian relief.

The C-130, initially operated by the 242 Operational Conversion Unit, has been deployed for almost 60 years.

The platform was an effective and flexible asset for airlift and airdrop tasks and was able to operate in challenging environments.

C-130J aircraft and Merlin Mk4 helicopters
C-130J aircraft and Merlin Mk4 helicopters. Photo: UK Royal Air Force

“I have some fantastic memories. There is a huge swelling of pride of being the first aircraft in and last aircraft out of Afghanistan, supporting the humanitarian aid there,” C-130 Pilot Warrant Officer Scott Drinkel stated in a BBC report.

“Everybody pulls together so well, even very recently when we have been tasked with other operations, such as Polar Bear – the Sudanese effort – very close to the end of the Herc, we are still a valuable asset so I have huge pride in 47 Squadron.”

The 47 Squadron

The 47 Squadron was established at Beverley, Yorkshire, in March 1916. The group was initially intended for home defense.

The team became a C-130 Hercules Squadron in 1968. They were based at RAF Fairford and eventually moved to RAF Lyneham.

“Whilst the retirement of the Hercules and the laying-up of the 47 Squadron standard is a sad moment for many of us, I have full confidence that the people of the RAF Air Mobility Force will continue to deliver excellence around the globe,” C-130 Wing Commander James Sjoberg said.

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