Two C-130J Hercules aircraft out of RAF Brize Norton have conducted a low level formation training sortie across the South West of England, say the Royal Air Force.
The RAF say here that the aircraft, after departing Brize Norton, practised low-level altitude flying near RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. The pair then climbed before practising close-formation airdrop procedures over land.
“With the sun setting, the aircraft flew out over the Bristol Channel where the pilots from 47 Squadron and 24 Squadron conducted simulated formation airdrop training for operations in support of maritime forces.”
Flight Lieutenant Manson, an RAF Pilot, said:
“The finesse required to fly these large aircraft in such close proximity is a special skill that requires regular practise. When you add night time into the equation it becomes even more essential to rehearse and refine these skills even further.
Closure speeds and distance are incredibly hard to judge at night as you simply don’t have the same visual references as day. On a dark night even with night vision devices attached to our helmets it can be almost impossible to make out the other aircraft in any real detail, so we need to be exact in knowing what we’re seeing and interpreting that into safe and accurate flying to accomplish the mission.
It’s really important to remember that if and when the C-130 is called to perform a maritime airdrop for real, lives will likely be at stake. ‘Train hard, fight easy’ as the saying goes really does hold weight here, we must be ready to deliver whenever and wherever we are called upon.”
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