The Middle East Royal Air Force (RAF) Hercules C-130J detachment from RAF Brize Norton has taken part in a demonstration of UK Air Power during an exercise over Jordan that has just finished. The use of Air Power was the means to demonstrate â€˜Force Projection’ during an exercise in the Middle East by conducting a low altitude insertion of more than 150 personnel from 16 Air Assault Brigade into the Jordanian Desert, who then linked up with Jordanian Forces on the ground from the Jordanian Special Forces Group. To carry out the exercise three C-130J Hercules aircraft were escorted by two Typhoons to Jordan.
“The UK Armed Forces stand with Jordan against shared threats in the region. This joint exercise is a showcase of the Global Response Force’s impressive ability to operate across multiple domains and in harsh environments. They are the soldiers of the future, ready to tackle changing threats around the world, ” said James Heappey, Minister for the Armed Forces.
“Flying at Low Level to airdrop parachutists and supplies is the bread and butter of the C130 force. We train for this on a regular basis and have formed a close working relationship with 16 Air Assault Brigade. I think this really shows when you look at what we are able to achieve together,” said Flight Lieutenant Manson, RAF Hercules detachment.
The Typhoons were then joined by Jordanian F16s to provide Close Air Support for the troops once on the ground. The air mission was controlled from an RAF E-3D Sentry Airborne Warning And Control System aircraft. All RAF aircraft operated from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to conduct the exercise. The main parachute drop had been preceded by the dispatch of specially trained Pathfinders several days earlier. The Pathfinders had had carried out a â€˜first light’ drop from 12 000 ft under steerable canopies to secure the Drop Zones. The main drop saw elements of the Lead Assault Force parachuting in at Low Level, together with 15 tonnes of equipment being also dropped by parachute.
The aircrew for the three C-130J Hercules involved in the exercise were drawn from both 47 and XXIX Squadrons, and were supported by the personnel from the Air Despatch Wing and No 1 Air Mobility Wing, all of which are based at RAF Brize Norton. Jordan is a key partner for the UK in the region. The joint exercise demonstrates the UK’s commitment Jordan and to regional stability, with the exercise taking place in Jordan’s centenary year. The C-130J aircraft is the latest in a long line of Hercules aircraft that has been operated by the RAF and are part of the longest continuous production run in the history of military aviation.