Royal Air Force will fly C-130 Hercules 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 long career of the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules in the UK is coming to an end. The Royal Air Force (RAF) scheduled for June 17 the last mission of the transport aircraft in the country.

The final task of the RAF Hercules 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). The total withdrawal of aircraft in the country is scheduled for June 30th.

The retirement of the C-130 in the UK is scheduled from 2021 as a measure to contain costs. Therefore, they are aircraft that for now will not have a direct replacement. Instead, the Hercules’ missions will be handed over to the Airbus A400M Atlas, of which the British currently have 21 aircraft out of 22 on order.

Image of a C-130J Hercules lifting from Pembrey Sands in Wales during a Natural Surface Operations sortie (RAF)

The type operated by the RAF is the C-130J Super Hercules model, the latest version of the multi-role military aircraft. In all, the country’s fleet has 15 aircraft, of which only six remain in service. The aircraft already withdrawn are stored in Cambridge, where they must remain until they are sold to other air forces.

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The UK was one of the first foreign operators of the C-130 Hercules, an aircraft that debuted with the US Air Force in 1956. The RAF received the first Lockheed freighters in 1966, while the latest J-series models were added to the fleet from 1999.

In addition to the A400M, other RAF aircraft with heavy transport capacity that are still active are the Boeing C-17 Globemaster and the Airbus A330 Voyager, which also has the capacity to provide aerial refueling.

Royal Air Force C-17 (RAF)


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