We already served you a nice dish of images of the big NATO & partners exercise Cold Response earlier, but the military photographers and the Norwegian military audiovisual unit have given us some more nice stuff! Press play and see more of the aircraft and helicopters that supported the 15,000 troops strong exercise in Northern and Central Norway, with even the Norwegian crown prince Haakon deployed, earning his tactical special operations parajump certification with the Norwegian Special Operations Command.
From 21 February to 4 March, Portugal was the stage of Real Thaw, the annual exercise that provides special training to NATO units most likely to participate in military operations within international cooperative frame works. And if Portugal was the stage, Beja airbase was the dressing room. Fighter aircraft, transporters and helos all played their part.
Other than delivering jet noise over large parts of Portugal, the main goal of Real Thaw 2016 was to provide tough tactical training with participation of air, land and sea forces and focusing on the execution phase. Participating forces were confronted with an operating environment as realistic as possible and typical of current operations, according to the Portuguese Air Force, organizer of Real Thaw.
The Portuguese sent all their assets to join Real Thaw, including F-16s, Alfa Jets, C-130 Hercules plus P-3 and C295 maritime patrol aircraft. Forces from other countries were invited to participate in Real Thaw 2016 in order to create a joint-operational environment.
Participation also came from the US (F-15, MV-22 and C-130), Norway (F-16), the Netherlands (C-130), Belgium (C-130), Denmark (AS550 support helicopters), Spain (C-212 light transport aircraft) and the UK. Also, a NATO E-3A Awacs was involved.
Day and night
Missions took place at both day and night times environments and included the use of para jumpers, forward air controllers and other ground forces. The coordination of Real Thaw 2016 was run from Beja Air Base in central Portugal. In order to give support to air and ground missions that took place further north in the areas of Guarda and Pinhel, a tactical air base was temporarily set up near the town of Seia.
Real Thaw 2016 was the eighth exercise in a series conducted by the Portuguese Air Force since 2009.
The Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules has reached a new milestone. On 11 December 2015 the 2,500th aircraft of the type was delivered: a HC-130J Combat King II to the US Air Force’s 71st Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.
With reaching the number the US aircraft manufacturer illustrates once again the important role of the most popular military transport aircraft of modern times. The C-130 easily beats the Antonov AN-26 (1,400 produced), the AN-24 (1,300 – 1,400) and the AN-12 (1,200+ produced), of which only the AN-12 is somewhat similar as a four-engine turboprop tactical airlifter. The Hercules has been flying into many battles, providing troops with necessary provisions and ammunition. But it also brought thousands of tons of food and medical supplies to people in need and rescuing many from disaster zones.
Today at least 68 countries operate the C-130 in its military role, logging more than 22 million flight hours, according to statistics from Lockheed Martin. There are even a few civilian operators like Lynden Air Cargo from the United States and Safair from South Africa. Sixteen nations choose to newest model, the C-130J Super Hercules, for their nation’s air arms. More than 100 different variants of the C-130 have been made.
C-130 First Flight
The characteristic sound of the Herc’s four Allison T56 engines have been with us ever since 23 August 1954, when prototype YC-130 took off from the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California, to land at Edwards Air Force Base roughly an hour later. Since then the C-130 has been developed into not only a tactical airlifter, but flying weather stations, air tanker, airborne gunship, reconnaissance aircraft and (combat) rescue machine.
Adore the Hercules
Let’s give a big applause to the men and women who designed, made, fly, service or just adore the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules … wherever they are with some historic Hercules images (below).
If the weather will allow it the Uruguayan Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules dispatched to Antarctica will arrive home on Tuesday 8 December 2015.
The aircraft (FAU 592) left Air Brigade I (Carrasco) on 1 December, the Fuerza Aérea Uruguaya writes in a statement, with the personnel that will operate the Latin American country’s South Pole base in 2016. Dubbed Antarctic Scientific Antarkos XXXII the Hercules the technicians and other personnel will first focus on executing essential repairs to the base, mainly the generators and telecom systems, after the past winter period.
King George Island
Uruguay runs its Artigas Base at King George Island, 75 miles (120 km) from the main coast of Antarctica and home to research stations of many countries. The Uruguayan station is a 5 mile (10km) drive from a nearby 4,230 feet short airstrip which also serves other stations.
In August, the first air-to-air refueling fights between Spanish Air Force Eurofighters and United States Marine Corps (USMC) KC-130J Hercules aircraft took place in Spain.
The Eurofighters were from Esc 111 (squadron), part of Ala 11 (11th Wing) based at Morón Air Base in Southern Spain. The ops with the tanker were part getting to the squadron’s evaluation of the operational capabilities in October. The USMC Hercules tankers are already at Morón as part of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa.
The Spanish Air Force is planning more tanker meetings with other units and aircraft, to increase the interoperability of its and allied armies.