C-130J Hercules aircraft were operating with (not from!) HMS Queen Elizabeth when the aircraft carrier was in Scotland for Exercise Strike Warrior last month.

According to RAF Brize Norton here:

“In recent weeks, personnel from 47 Squadron have taken part in Exercise STRIKE WARRIOR, all around the UK. Integrating all the joint services, the exercise allows multiple force elements to hone their skills in a contested battlespace, whilst developing tactical knowledge across all areas of UK Defence.

This year saw 47 Squadron conduct combined air operations (COMAO) involving airdrop, tactical landing zones, air-land arming and refuelling (ALARP) of RN Merlin helicopters and a chance to operate alongside HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH – itself involved in the exercise for the first time. Outstanding work from all involved – including the myriad units at RAF Brize Norton that enable the mighty C-130J Hercules to do what it does best.”

Image Crown Copyright 2021

Exercise Strike Warrior involved more than 20 warships, three submarines and 150 aircraft from 11 nations and was the final test for the Carrier Strike Group ahead of its first operational deployment to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific.

Image Crown Copyright 2021

Before the exercise, the Ministry of Defence said:

“The exercise, which will run for two weeks, will see the task group pitted against warships from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 in waters off north-west Scotland to prove it is capable of undertaking high intensity operations against the most demanding adversaries. The culmination of Strike Warrior will see the Carrier Strike Group certified ready for deployment, at which point operational command will pass from the Royal Navy’s Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd, to the Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key.”

Today, HMS Queen Elizabeth is of course operating in the Mediterranean having just met up with the Charles de Gaulle.

According to the Royal Navy:

“HMS Queen Elizabeth has rendezvoused with the French carrier Charles De Gaulle for Exercise Gallic Strike: three days of joint training and engagements in the Western Mediterranean taking place from 1-3 June 2021.

You can read more at the link below.

HMS Queen Elizabeth meets Charles de Gaulle

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BB85
BB85
5 months ago

I’m still curious if a C130 with no fuel or stores onboard could land and take off from a QE carrier. I think they can do it on the US Carriers so curious to see if they would have enough of a run off the end of the ski jump.
Maybe worth a try when they are being decommed just make sure the pilot has some breaking gear.

Last edited 5 months ago by BB85
BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Breathing, not flipping breaking

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

You might have been right the first time!

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Idont think that would be possible due size and power needed to take off again .

Daveyb
Daveyb
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Its been done before on the USS Forrestal aircraft carrier which is slightly bigger than the QE class. The Hercules did a number of trials from the carrier steady building up its take-off weight. They managed to do it without using the extreme short take-off rocket assistance as well. Technically a short bodied Herc should be able to land and stop with room to spare. Take-off using the ramp might be iffy as it would depend on the aircraft’s current weight versus its max power rating.

Nate M
Nate M
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

isn’t the c130 meant to be STOL

Challenger
Challenger
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

I imagine the ski jump would be the biggest problem, you need an aircraft designed with a high and strong enough undercarriage.

julian1
julian1
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

maybe try an Atlas or C17  😂  since Hercules will be no more… 😫 

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

I don’t think the wings would clear the aft island on the QEC, not with any margin for error anyway. The US carriers have an angled flight deck, even so the C130 might not be able to land on the latest US carriers as the island has been moved further aft closing the flight deck width down somewhat… Whilst the USN did test the idea successfully, they though it too risky so they went for the smaller COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) aircraft. The test pilot was awarded the US Distinguished Flying Cross for the flight (the aircraft was carrying 12tons… Read more »

Douglas Newell
Douglas Newell
5 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I’d like to see them attach some JATO rockets to the Hercules and give a carrier launch a try. I’d pay to watch that!

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Newell

I would give the problem to the Airbus guys at Broughton: design me a wing narrow enough to fit on QE which will lift a take off weight of X within a distance Y. We seem to be obsessed with Ospreys.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Canada_DHC-4_Caribou

What could conventional technology achieve if we threw state of the art engines, software and composites?

Brom
Brom
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P
Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Brom

Exactly; the Osprey is an impressive aircraft which is pitched as a ( very expensive) Swiss Army knife solution to every problem; COD, IFR, AEW, Special Forces insertion…
I think a cautious approach is the way to go. Horses for courses.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

A lot of tasks will in future be carried out by the larger drones operate from Carriers of land bases.
Special forces deployment maybe they will go for the Ospreys in limited numbers .

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

I certainly see drones for AEW especially if they can be launched and recovered from any escort flight deck. Not convinced about Osprey for special forces. Good speed but Chinook has bigger internal dimensions, significantly bigger troop carrying payload and can more than match Osprey for range I think, especially the latest version we just ordered. In flight refuelling seems to be the toughest nut to crack.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Does the latest version of the Chinook not have the extended refueling probe .

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Not sure about that. I think this is the version we are buying. The attached article does mention refuelling probe. Maybe we have done our usual UK cheapskate and deleted it?
https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/mh-47g-chinook-special-operations-helicopter/

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Hopefully they will order the full spec and not cut corners as they normally do.

dan
dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Would need a very large drone to carry the AESA radar large enough to be effective. Nothing like that exists now for a carrier launched drone.

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  dan

Understand. That’s on the assumption you deploy a single aircraft/ drone. But suppose it becomes possible to deploy a distributed ‘swarm’ of networked drones whose information pictures can be exchanged or fused. Bit like bees telling each other where the flowers are.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  dan

Would a loyal wingman or mosquito type drone not be big enough to carry AESA radar

Joe16
Joe16
5 months ago
Reply to  Douglas Newell

You beat me to it..!

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth
5 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I bet if Capt Eric “Winkle” Brown RN was still around he would have given it a dam good try.
For those not familiar with who he was, it is worth reading the wiki entry.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Brown_(pilot)

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Forsyth
Steve Salt
Steve Salt
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

Better still, try his autobiography Wings on my Sleeve. Amazing pilot ! Cracking book.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the link, sounds like a very impressive pilot.

By the way, we might have sat in the same office. I am disabled and might have sat in front of you when I first joined the office 🙂 . Did you move on to MAN trucks? I was made redundent in 2010.

Cheers CR

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth
5 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Are you referring to QinetiQ, and do you have a pilots license
If so, you will find me on Facebook

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Forsyth
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

🙂 Hello mate 🙂

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth
5 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Look forward to your FB request

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Besides the wings hitting the superstructure I’d imagine the noise would smash into the ramp before the noise wheel ever began to clime it.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Is this tongue in cheek??

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

 😂 

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Absolutley no chance whatsoever. Frankly, bordering on insane. Landing: The aircraft would have to land right at the stern with max possible descent rate (which with any adverse ship motion would break the gear), then stay straight and level for 600+ feet on a rolling and wet deck and hit nothing on the deck (ie be cleared entirely) and have zero capacity for any kind of power or hydraulic failure. The runway on CVF is inboard, and so I doubt (and cant be arsed to work out) whether the wingspan would fit without impacting the islands. I also doubt the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago

I still lament the cut of Hercules more than any other asset in this review.
What a great start for the “Global Response Force” ( a silly pointless rebranding) and an expanded SF and S Ops capability having enabling assets removed and putting everything on 22 Atlas and 8 C17.

If the UK military is to be more engaged and forward deployed why take it’s delivery assets away? Transport aircraft, ISTAR aircraft/Drones and Helicopters should be growth areas.

Challenger
Challenger
5 months ago

Even if we are to lose that smaller tactical capability mass is as always a quality in itself so it would have seemed far more like joined up thinking and in keeping with ‘Global Britain’ if we intended to obtain some more Atlas. I’m pretty sure the Germans and Spanish want to flog some of theirs which are good as new as they now want to run much smaller fleets. Could be a bargain!

Herodotus
5 months ago

I agree, we have extensive experience with the C130J, and with Marshall’s expertise they could provide valuable services in many areas. A short sighted cut of an existing and recently updated aircraft (new wing box sections)

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 months ago

I think we are getting better capabilities with A400M. From the link below – “Recent tests were completed in Spain, in collaboration with the UK Royal Air Force parachute test team, to expand up to 25,000 feet (7,600 metres) for automatic parachute opening – and up to 38,000ft (11,582 metres) for free fall.”   “The A400M also completed additional tests to expand its air drop capability … Combat offload of up to 19 tonnes of pallets (one pass) or 25 tonnes (two passes) on paved or unpaved airstrips.”   “The A400M also achieved a new decisive milestone after the certification… Read more »

Sonik
Sonik
5 months ago

I agree on the capability but I think Daniele is right too about the numbers, too few. Particularly because Boxer will be a two part lift on Atlas.

Still as Challenger mentioned there are plenty A400 available off the shelf should budget magically become available.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 months ago
Reply to  Sonik

Some increase in numbers would be nice, but we can probably say that about a lot of assets. We do have 8x C-17, more by accident than design, so we ended up with a more capable air lift than originally planned before the A400M delays. To be honest I’ll be amazed if we fly Boxer anywhere in a hurry if at all, simply because of how much air transport would be needed for timely deployment of a decent sized force, along with the support and other force requirements. It seems every major transport aircraft and armoured vehicle project in Europe… Read more »

Sonik
Sonik
5 months ago

Agreed. Even with just what we have already, it’s still not too shabby in terms of total airlift.

Worth noting that A400 not only has twice the payload (Vs C130) it’s also nearly twice as fast, so if used for shuttle trips in rotation, it can in theory deliver 3-4 times as much, per airframe hour. And using significantly less personnel and support Vs 3-4 Hercs.

Does put more eggs in one basket but it’s still technically a big increase in total capacity.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago

Mate as we have said before the hercs going is one of the worst cuts! I’m still wondering what DSF was offered to keep him sweet. Atlas is good but for certain jobs to large and when it comes to it, a herc is more expendable.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Morning mate. For me, while acknowledging GHF points on the capability and payload of the Atlas, it’s the sheer number of tasks required of the Military by HMG while reducing numbers. Even when we had more aircraft in the RAF AT fleet there were constant competing bids for use of an asset, such an in demand resource they are, before this latest reduction. The SFG as you know are the spear tip, even in peacetime, with demands for everything from training oversees to actual ops to the sneaky beaky RRW stuff. They have seemingly dedicated aviation assets as their tasks… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago

All top points mate which goes to show how absolutly essential the herc force is. Youve mentioned a number of factors which many commentators, and indeed head sheds seem not to be reailstic about. With just 22 Atlas (maybe 15 avaialble in the forward fleet) taking on all these roles, then there will be capability gaps somewhere. And when we lost a herc in Afghan, can you imagine losing an Atlas doing the same tasking…gold plated asset, no chance. Im all for modern tech assets, force multipliers etc an understand that we are moving towards, better tech, less platforms, BUT,… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
5 months ago

We have 22 Atlas(ish), but the fleet does relatively little task wise although that has grown (slowly). The 14 Hercs were in the fleet to deliver about half that number of aircraft daily available (for maint and upgrade cover and to even flying hours). Basically, the task lines work if, and this is the big if, Atlas can step up their abysmal fleet availability. Some of that is lack of parts and people so Herc going does free significant resources to help acheive that. As for SF, everyone said the J would never do SF as only the K could… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Interesting. Had not heard SF want dedicated C17.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Special Forces favour the C130 over the Atlas

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Yes I’m aware, was that reply for me or rogbob?

Bill
Bill
5 months ago

The Hercs are being retired far too early along with the Warrior. One step forward…..

dan
dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Bill

Never forget that politicians alway knows what’s best. haha

Bill
Bill
5 months ago
Reply to  dan

Yes silly me! A whole different capability lost. Senseless! Deja vu strikes again.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
5 months ago
Reply to  Bill

The US also seem to see merit in a concept like this:

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/usaf-buys-more-bacn

Strange how many other countries carry on using air assets we state are obsolete.

lee1
lee1
5 months ago

I wonder if they could deliver parts etc via a low level parachute drop onto the deck?

Frank62
Frank62
5 months ago
Reply to  lee1

Not onto the deck. That would be too hard to hit. If they did it’d damage an eye-wateringly special coated deck to cope with the F35B engine heat.. Dropped into the sea & recovered by heli or boat.

Jason Holmes
Jason Holmes
5 months ago

I wonder if the few A400 will be able to undertake all the roles filled by the C130, I am thinking not, sadly.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

At present they can’t be used for parachute drops

Jason Holmes
Jason Holmes
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

I know, mad isn’t it

captain p wash
captain p wash
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Shhh…. They’ll see that and cut the Para’s next……..  😱 

Jason Holmes
Jason Holmes
5 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Merge with the Marines and have Para commandos ! a winged Pegasus with a dagger through its back !

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

😂

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

I can see the Paras disappearing. They blotted their copybook in NI.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Not at all, neither disappearing or blotting any copybook. NI was NI, most of what is touted about is republican chuff.

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Reading the Runes of the Defence Review I think that is the direction of travel.
Can’t make too many political points otherwise the Mods will delete me. NI is complex. There are two plaited ropes. One is Republicanism/Irish Celtic Heritage/ Catholicism. The other is Monarchy/Unionism/Presbyterianism. Disentangling the knots is not easy.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Tell me about it in reagrd to NI. As for the para role, there will always be a role, and a trained capability. As we have all chatted about many times, very unlikley will we ever have the need (or even the airframes and assets) to drop a full Brigade, BUT the option should always be there, even if its simply to have that option, in order for any future adversery to take that into there planning considerations, and for them to deply assets and people, to defend against it. Obviously we will still have the need for small teams… Read more »

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

I think we will always retain the Para capability

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

You would wonder why it was not sorted at initial certification, Is the C 17 suitable for Para drops.

dan
dan
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

C17s have been used to drop troops for many years.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  dan

Yes mate but not UK C17s as not set up for it or any PJIs trainer for it. But as ever, if the SHTF needs must lol

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Trainer, bloody hell should read trained.

captain p wash
captain p wash
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

There are times I just Piss myself on here mate…………… seriously, I do………. sorry 😄 

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Airbus think it has…

https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2020/06/airbus-a400m-completes-full-paratrooper-simultaneous-dispatch-certification.html

Maybe there’s another step now we are not in the EU….perhaps we have to do the certification all over again…

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 months ago
Reply to  Nic

Time for an update

“The A400M is already able to drop up to 116 paratroopers, via simultaneous dispatch from the side doors with automatic parachute opening, or from the ramp with automatic parachute opening or in freefall, day and night. Recent tests were completed in Spain, in collaboration with the UK Royal Air Force parachute test team, to expand up to 25,000 feet (7,600 metres) for automatic parachute opening – and up to 38,000ft (11,582 metres) for free fall.”

https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2021/05/airbus-delivers-the-100th-a400m.html

Sonik
Sonik
5 months ago

But is it certified? I guess at least the concept has been tested, which will mean it can/will be done if there is a pressing need, even if still not fully certified.

A400m was always intended to replace C130 but the latter’s retirement got delayed due to the early availability problems with Atlas. So you would have to hope that A400m is ready to fulfill all the basic capabilities, even if it’s not quite like for like in some areas.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 months ago
Reply to  Sonik

Oh I agree that, as seems par for the course, yet another military project, meddled with by political pressure, has ended up being late in delivering. I just think we’re at a point where A400m starts to deliver capabilities that C130J doesn’t, beyond the additional range and load carrying capability. That Automatic Low Level Flight capability for Instrumental Meteorological Conditions (IMC) mentioned in the PR seems to be one example.

DaveC
DaveC
5 months ago

The nose would probably dig into the ramp because of the low ground clearance on the Hercules which is designed for heavy lift operations short and stubby struts.

DaveC
DaveC
5 months ago

QE aircraft carriers should have been fitted with cats and traps and upgraded typhoons to carrier based then with f35 would have give the carrier some punch. Short signed having the carriers only been able to operate f35 planes.

Derek
Derek
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveC

Cats and traps + upgraded Sea-Typhoon would mean no f35 buys at all. No plausible case for it with the bean counters.

Nic
Nic
5 months ago
Reply to  Derek

If they had installed cats and traps at the initial build , It would have made the Queen Elizabeth class available to other NATO carrier capable aircraft and the opportunity for purchase of carrier capable aircraft in future.