The Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet) will dispatch two of its seven operational C-130 Hercules aircraft to Iraq, the Swedish defence minsiter Karin Enström announced during a press conference on 18 August 2014. The first Royal Netherlands Air Force is on its way as well, while a quartet of German Transalls already left before last weekend.
The planes – locally designated TP 84 – will fly tents and essential supplies to refugees in the Northern Iraqi mountains, who are on the run for the fighting between the so-called Islamic State rebel forces (ISIS) and Western supported forces in the area.
A first recon team from the Swedish Emergency Response Authority (MSB) is already in place in Iraq for an assessment of the situation and needs. The Swedish deployment decision comes shortly after an alert issued by the United Nations.
The Swedish Hercs are amongst the oldest in Europe, with the first operational since 1965. Two of the aircraft – a C-130E/TP 84A with serial 841 and a C-130H/TP 84C with serial 843 – are being phased out this year, while the remainder part of the fleet will have to soldier on, probably with modifications. Aircraft 841 was already flown to England on 9 June for what is officially still called “storage”.
The C-130E/TP 84B with serial 842 and the C-130H/TP 84Ds with serials 844, 845, 846, 847 and 848 are all based at Såtenäs Airbase at the banks of the huge lake Vänern in southern Sweden. One of the aircraft is technically a KC-130, having a inflight-refuelling system.
Norway is considering the deployment of one of its four C-130Js to Iraq, but so far only has made the offer that the plane is available if somebody else asks for it. A Royal Netherlands Air Force C-130H already left Eindhoven Airbase around noon on Monday 18 August with blankets, LED lights and food for the ten thousand or more Yezidi people in dire conditions in Northern Iraq.
The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) sent four Transall C.160ESSs from Lufttransportgeschwader 63 (Air Transport Wing 63) based at Hohn already on 15 August to Northern Iraq. They flew their last stage from Incirlik Airbase in Turkey before returning home on 17 August. Like all other aid flights so far, the German C.160s landed at Erbil in Iraq, from where aid organisations distribute the goods further into the mountains.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information from the EATC