The Middle East Hercules C-130J detachment from RAF Brize Norton has taken part in “a demonstration of UK Air Power” during an exercise over Jordan, say the Royal Air Force.

The RAF say that the  use of Air Power was the means to demonstrate ‘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 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 ‘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.”

Flight Lieutenant Manson, RAF Hercules detachment, said in a news release:

“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.”

James Heappey, Minister for the Armed Forces, was quoted as saying:

“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.”

You can read more from the RAF here.

The RAF are set to lose its entire fleet of C-130 Hercules aircraft by 2023.

The Defence Command Paper released earlier in the year, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, states:

“The Royal Air Force will retire the BAe146 as planned by 2022 and take the C130 Hercules out of service by 2023. The A400M Atlas force will increase its capacity and capability, operating alongside C 17 Globemaster and Voyager transport aircraft and tankers.”

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Douglas Newell
Douglas Newell
13 days ago

I wonder what the real purpose of this exercise is. With the political issues Jordan has been having, is this Jordan, with the support of the UK, sending out a subtle message to neighboring countries (Syria) and regional actors (Iran and possibly Daesh) to keep their paws off!

Andy P
Andy P
13 days ago
Reply to  Douglas Newell

Pretty much I reckon Douglas. Jordan saying to its neighbours that they’re pals with some of the bigger kids.

geoff
geoff
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Hi Andy-indeed and it makes sense for the UK to support one of the few(maybe only) stable nation in the region! Jordan and the UK also have long standing ties with the former King Hussein having schooled in England and I think went to Sandhurst?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Indeed he did.

geoff
geoff
13 days ago

Morning Daniele. A fine institution that has trained Commonwealth militaries from around the Globe. Is your Summer holding? If you ever get to Durban, this is the best time of the year. Chilly nights but clear skies in the 20’s during the day. An idyllic spot that compensates for the ills of Zuma(who hopefully is about to go to Jail)
All the best DM!
Cheers GC

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
12 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Nope. Summer a mix of rain, clouds, and occasional sun! No surprise when Wimbledon is on.

Keep safe geoff.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
13 days ago
Reply to  geoff

And the mother of the King was a Brit I beleive… Distantly related as a 4th or 5th cousin a couple of times removed to Mrs Gunbuster! Don’t think we will get a call around though…

Andy P
Andy P
13 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

 😂 

I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of runs in Aqaba, managed to ‘do’ Petra (if you excuse the expression), a place I’d wanted to see since I was a kid. I liked it, it ticked most the boxes on the matelot checklist if you were so inclined.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Please tell me you didn’t ride a donkey down to the ruins!! Across the border in KSA is Mada’in Salih. Its Petra on steroids. Pretty much untouched by tourism the place is said to be cursed according to the locally in use “Good Book” , so very few local visitors go there only us crazy westerners. Absolutely stunning. If Saudi tourism kicks off and you can get a visa its worth a visit. As is the KSA skuba diving in the Red Sea. Unspoilt reefs because there are so few tourists. It won’t last long before its all changed. I… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
13 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Morning GB, No donkey ride for me although I did have to get quite forceful about it when one guy was quite insistent that I should ride the smallest donkey on the planet.

Saudi have been advertising tourism over here but I’ve no plans to visit unless they get a bit more liberal on the consumption of ‘loud mouth soup’.

There are some great places around the world to see, but you know what they say….. no bad runs ashore, just bad runners.  😀 

Michael Fowler
Michael Fowler
12 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Aquaba or eilat? I was lucky enough to entertain Exeter and Northumberland in my pub in eilat

Andy P
Andy P
12 days ago
Reply to  Michael Fowler

Aqaba mate, was there on a couple of S boats. Nice part of the world.

geoff
geoff
13 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

..but you could be a possible Pretender to the throne in the event of a coup GB?

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
12 days ago
Reply to  geoff

He was also a long time supporter of Fairford RIAT.

geoff
geoff
12 days ago

Hi Bdtp. A good man all round. If there had been a few more like him the Middle East would maybe not have been in such a mess.

Gemma
Gemma
11 days ago
Reply to  Douglas Newell

Of course its all about Geopolitics, at time of an unstable world.

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
13 days ago

The premature withdrawal of these aircraft in 2023 is another example of MOD waste. We had 22 originally and the last aircraft will be sold a whole decade before there pre defence review OSD. A unique, flexible and reliable aircraft that will be missed by our special forces in particular. Whilst we retain by comparison to our European allies a good airlift capability the bean counters are slowly reducing the benefit we bring. Indeed given the weakness of many of our European allies the comparison is not useful to gauge our capability. Whilst I am keen on a far more… Read more »

Andy G
Andy G
13 days ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

We bought A400M for this role, seems a far superior aircraft to me.

Nic
Nic
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy G

Surely this would have been a good opportunity to use the A400 in joint operation with special forces.

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy G

It’s little better than a 1-1 replacement though. If we had similar numbers to the French or Germans (supposedly anyway) are getting I would be more enthusiastic.

Nic
Nic
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy G

This would have been the idea opportunity to use A400 in an overseas operation situation.

dan
dan
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy G

Not according to the RAF pilots who fly the Herc. If I had to go low into a hot zone would much rather have a MC-130J than the much larger and less maneuverable A400M.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Spot on IMO.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
13 days ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

But if we want more F35’s, a new fancy radar for Typhoon, new weapons, new cyber capabilities, loyal wingman, and AEW and refueling UAV’s. E7’s, T26’s T31/2’s, 50 new Apaches, the shopping list could go on. Then the bean counters have to find the money, and balance the books somehow against a backdrop of huge government borrowing and getting the MOD budget out of the red. Hercules is legacy kit. We have capacity in the airlift fleet. A400 will expand it’s capabilities and availability. We also have the 8 C17’s.

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
13 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

All very desirable but then why buy so many A400s if you have these already. Whilst I get the importance of supporting industry there is no long term plan to make the most of what we have already got. Ironically you can then afford more new kit.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
13 days ago
Reply to  Sjb1968

Because Hercules are old. And the A400 carries double the load, over a greater range. And yes, it is good for jobs and skills in the UK.

Sjb1968
Sjb1968
12 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Robert, they are not old and have at least another ten years service in them according to the MOD and an order for the A400s at a later date would have been fine to supersede the C130s. We do not get the most of what we already have and it is totally unnecessary.

dan
dan
13 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

I’m sure money can be found somewhere amongst the huge waste of taxpayer money that all governments have. Just get rid of some of those “social experiment programs.”

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
13 days ago
Reply to  dan

Maybe America should spend a little less on defence, and a little more looking after it citizens. 2021, and you don’t have a national health service. Average wages, education standards, living standards, life expectancy levels, all way lower than UK and EU standards. American is a wonderful country, but it’s social attitudes are 15 years behind the UK and EU.

Esteban
Esteban
9 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Remember you have nothing to do with the EU anymore… The United States really does not need any more progress like that.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
13 days ago

Its not really Operation Market Garden…. three C130s is the best we can now do?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

Round abouts. With only a single Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in role ( either 2 or 3 Para ) and of that battalion a company or so along with dets from the varied enablers in 16AA to form the AATF, we won’t be dropping brigade sized formations at all or even full battalions routinely without all out effort.

Smaller units like Pathfinder Platoon and the varied SF and small RM units with para capability more usual these days.

Airborne
Airborne
12 days ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

Daniele is correct, please see my reply to John G below.

JohnG
JohnG
13 days ago

Would be interested to know our maximum capability in this regard. I’ve got quite a good idea of the size of an amphibious force that we could land and sustain, but not so much knowledge about the maximum size of an airdrop force we could deploy nor the rationale behind that size.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
13 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

We don’t really want to be doing a strap them up and push them out job. To much injury etc. If required 1000’s could be dropped in multiple runs. But is it much use to have that many needing supported etc. I see the para job as a mobile hit and move group using their mobility to the advantage. Or they go in to meet up with heavier forces at a set point. It’s so hard to think what a future conflict may involve. Will there ever be a country versus country fight again? Who knows but if there is… Read more »

JohnG
JohnG
12 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I can get my head around a special forces drop or a small para drop for special forces missions, but from what I can fathom, they would have only very light kit with them. I struggle to think of a use for a large para drop, bar except some kind of take and hold mission of some key strategic feature. I suppose it is good to have the capability just in case, as war is messy and flexibility with what you can do is key. I agree with your thoughts on nukes, but even more scary to this is China’s… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
12 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

Correct, we have the ability and the capability, but the concept of operations will change continuously, threat dependant. However the days of large Bde level drops are pretty much over and we no longer train (live but TEWTs do happen) ) to drop a full Bn with supporting arms. It will be a Coy group at best, after a PF insertion, for a number of reasons, such as to hold ground for a leap frog deployment, take and form an air head for the remaining units to Air land, to hold ground for an extraction, hostage/SF etc. However it is… Read more »

GlynH
GlynH
12 days ago

That lighter shade of green is gorgeous, looks like alcantara.