Military Aviation

Cool Video shows RAF C-130 Hercules retirement Flypast Through Mach Loop

RAF C-130 Hercules retirement Flypast Through Mach Loop

Filmed by our friend Dafydd Phillips on Jun. 14, 2023, the epic video in this post features the Royal Air Force (RAF) C-130 Hercules airlifter hitting the Mach Loop for the very last time.

The footage in fact shows the C-130J flypast that marks the retirement of the Hercules from RAF service.
‘After fifty-six years of service in the Royal Air Force the mighty C-130 Hercules has flown its final formation flight. The formation of three C-130J departed RAF Brize Norton at 10.00 today (14th June) for its last six-hour tour of the UK. The Mach Loop was packed out to see the formation enter the Bwlch and turn into Cad for the last time. I’ve included in the video some of my favourite memories of the Hercules from beach landings on Pembrey sands to some regular passes in the Loop.

‘We all have a memory/story of the Hercules,’ said Phillips.

As already reported the routing of the three aircraft that took part in the flypast covered locations of significance to the Hercules’ service and 47 Squadron.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. AC-130U Spooky II 1st SOW, 4th SOS, 88-0163

Transition to the A400 Atlas

The transition to the 22-strong Atlas (A400) fleet and other air mobility aircraft has been ongoing for some time. 47 Squadron and the Hercules will continue to deliver on operations supporting UK defence objectives until Jun. 30, 2023.

Defence officials announced in 2021’s Integrated Review that the 15-strong C-130J fleet would be retired by 2023 due to cost savings, with operations transitioning to the Airbus A400M. That date was subsequently extended until end-June due to availability issues with the European type.

Just six Hercules remain in RAF service.

The expertise acquired operating the Hercules and its broad range of capabilities will be transitioned across to the other flying platforms in RAF service. This includes Ground support staff (Engineers, Air Operations and Intelligence professions) who will be relocated to similar roles around the RAF.

Photo credit: Dafydd Phillips

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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