Stunning images of Hercules transporters on low-level training through Snowdonia released by RAF
The Royal Air Force has published stunning images of two C130 Hercules transporters that have recently been conducting low-level training through Snowdonia.
The Hercules – often described as the workhorse of the RAF transport fleet – first came into service with the air force in 1967.
Over the years it has proved to be a versatile and rugged aircraft, primarily intended for tactical operations including troop carrying, parachuting, supply dropping and aeromedical duties.
The pair of RAF C130’s – flown by 47 Squadron – were spotted recently conducting low-level formation training over parts of north Wales, through Snowdonia and passing through Mach Loop as pilots sharpened up their low level flying skills.
Mach Loop is a set of valleys, situated between Dolgellau in the north, and Machynlleth in the south -and from which the Mach Loop gets its name – which are regularly used for low level flight training, with flying as low as 250 feet from the nearest terrain.
The area’s mountainous terrain provides a challenging environment for pilots training in low level flying.
In a post on its Facebook Page, the RAF said: “A pair of C130 Hercules flown by 47 Squadron has been conducting low-level formation training through Snowdonia.”
“This included a pass through the iconic Machyllneth Loop – known as the Mach Loop.”
“The two aircraft also skirted the Welsh coast, passing by Aberytswyth before heading back in-land and towards RAF Brize Norton.”
“Low flying is a perishable skill that requires regular practice for pilots and weapon system operators to maintain their flying currencies.”
“It give crews the ability to avoid enemy detection in a high-threat environment and to deliver air dropped cargo to ground troops or for humanitarian missions.”
The Hercules was identified in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review for withdrawal from service in 2022, a decade earlier than originally planned.
The Airbus A400 Atlas was always earmarked to replace the Hercules but the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review it was announced that 14 Hercules C4s will remain in service until 2030, with funding allocated not only for their operations but also for upgrading and life extension.
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