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Exercise Austral Endurance - RAF C-130 Hercules Heads to Antarctica

Exercise Austral Endurance - RAF C-130 Hercules Heads to Antarctica

Exercise Austral Endurance - RAF C-130 Hercules Heads to Antarctica

This week a Royal Air Force C-130J Hercules, operated by No. 47 Squadron, took off from RAF Brize Norton as it headed to Mount Pleasant Airfield in the Falkland Islands, supporting Exercise Austral Endurance.

Exercise Austral Endurance - RAF C-130 Hercules Heads to Antarctica

Exercise Austral Endurance involves the C-130J Hercules conducting a series of resupply flights for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) at BAS forward base, Sky Blu. The supplies are primarily fuel to assist BAS with their important research deep into Antarctica. In order to extend the range of the C-130J, it will conduct air-to-air refuelling with an RAF Voyager, based at Mount Pleasant.

Exercise Austral Endurance - RAF C-130 Hercules Heads to Antarctica

The Sky Blu base is a BAS forward operating station located at latitude 75 degrees South in southern Palmer Land, Antarctica. The name of the base comes from the area of blue ice that surrounds it which is formed from extremely hard and dense ice that has lost the air bubbles that normally cloud the ice.

Exercise Austral Endurance - RAF C-130 Hercules Heads to Antarctica

This C-130J, with external fuel tanks, has a range of over 3500 miles unloaded, with the Falklands some 7800 miles away, as the crow flies, it will be making a few pit stops along the way. The planned route, which will include equipment movements for another tasking, for ZH868 includes Gibraltar, Senegal, Ascension Island, Rio de Janeiro and finally RAF Mount Pleasant.

Exercise Austral Endurance - RAF C-130 Hercules Heads to Antarctica

In all, before the aircraft has even begun dropping supplies to the BAS, it will have flown over 11,000 miles, a true workhorse for the Royal Air Force.

 

 
 

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