#1711Sig Signed Omen Formation Hercules print

Signed Omen Formation Hercules print
Purchased products will not feature the Squadron Prints watermark
£47.00 €55.02 $58.61
43.8 cm x 29.2 cm
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Signed Print
Hercules C4
ZH871; ZH870; ZH868
47 Sqn
RAF Brize Norton
UK - Air Force
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Squadron Prints Signed Lithograph No. 1711 - 56 Years of RAF Hercules Operations - "First in. Last Out.", OMEN Formation, 14 June 2023. Signed by the Officer Commanding of 47 Squadron. Limited edition of 47 signed prints only.

In the mid-1960s the RAF ordered the Hercules to replace its piston-engine Blackburn Beverley and Handley Page Hastings transports. Sixty-six Hercules were ordered to C-130H standard, but designated C-130K for export to the UK. Known to the RAF as Hercules C1, the first aircraft completed its maiden flight on 19 October 1966 and was flown by an RAF crew to Cambridge on 19 December 1966. In 1978 a conversion programme began to produce 30 Hercules C3 aircraft by stretching the fuselage of the C1 to achieve a dramatic increase in cabin capacity. Lockheed produced the initial C3, flying it for the first time on 3 December 1979, but Marshall produced the remainder. Indeed, the Cambridge-based company has been instrumental in the Hercules programme since its inception. In the 1990s the MoD identified the need for a Hercules replacement and selected the Lockheed C-130J, a new-build model featuring the latest avionics systems and improved speed, range, and payload. The order placed comprised 15 of the longer C130J-30 and 10 standard length aircraft. These were designated the Hercules C4 and C5 respectively, with the first example reaching RAF Lyneham on 21 November 1999. Having been deployed almost continuously for 57 years, the Hercules fleet was retired from RAF service on 30 June 2023. First Operations - The Hercules was used immediately on operations. Between 1967 and 1980 the aircraft was involved in over 30 major operations. These include evacuating British personnel from Aden, Cyprus, Saigon and Tehran; providing aid to Nepal, Sudan, Turkey, St Helena and Nicaragua; reinforcing Belize and supporting peacekeeping in Anguilla, Egypt and Vanuatu. Falklands War - Hercules was the first RAF aircraft to deploy in support of the Falklands War. One day after the invasion, four Hercules departed RAF Lyneham for Gibraltar to set up an air bridge via Dakar to Ascension Island. The Hercules performing regular airdrop missions to the Task Force, including record-breaking missions exceeding 28 hours. Gulf War - Following the deployment of British forces in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Hercules operated as the primary in-theatre transport. Frequently operating from remote desert locations, Hercules also delivered the casualty evacuation. When the war ended, a 47 Squadron Hercules was the first aircraft back to Kuwait City. Balkans - Delivered aid to besieged cities across the region in support of the UN and NATO mission. From June 1992 – July 1996, an airbridge from Zagreb, and later Ancona, to the besieged city of Sarajevo, operated continuously with numerous aircraft the target of sophisticated surface-to-air missiles. Sierra Leone - Hercules contributed towards the successful evacuation British Nationals from Sierra Leone, including hostage rescue, before conducting a series of parachute drops including the mass-parachute airborne operation involving II Sqn, RAF Regiment. Afghanistan - A 2-ship formation landing at Bagram Airbase marked the start of nearly 20 years of British operation in Afghanistan. The enduring commitment to provide in theatre logistics, Medical Evacuation, rough airstrip operations, personnel parachuting and stores airdrop was the cornerstone of the Hercules operations until the withdrawal of combat troops in 2014. The Hercules returned in 2021 to personnel from Kabul with the cessation of the allied operation. It was the final RAF aircraft to leave Kabul in 2021. Iraq 2003 - The Hercules was instrumental to the insertion of UK forces during the initial phase of Gulf War II. UK Hercules continued to provide vital life support to operations in Iraq, often to remote desert locations until the completion of the campaign in 2011. Operations resumed in 2014, supporting the UK Counter-Daesh mission. The final Hercules involved with operations returned to RAF Brize Norton on 4 June 2023. Libya 2011 - As Libya descended into civil war, the Hercules was called upon to evacuate British and Foreign Nationals from the dangerous situation in the country. Forward mounting from Malta, three Hercules successfully flew to Tripoli & multiple remote desert strips to evacuate personnel coming under fire in the volatile, unpredictable situation. Humanitarian Missions - Support to humanitarian missions has been delivered globally. Examples include the first airdrops in Ethiopia to deliver food during the famine of 1984. In 2013, Hercules was instrumental in the United Kingdom’s response to Typhoon Haiyan. In early September 2017, Hurricane Irma swept across the Caribbean. The Hercules assisted the effort to provide relief to the British Overseas Territories affected. In February 2023, Two Hercules deployed to Turkey in the wake of devastating earthquakes. Sudan - After 82 years, 47 Squadron returned to Khartoum with three Hercules in April and May 2023. Unable to access Khartoum airport (established by 47 Squadron in 1927) Hercules evacuated over 2000 people from a degrading airstrip North of the city. Commemorative events - The final Hercules aircraft involved in operations returned to RAF Brize Norton on 4 June 2023. On 14 June 2023, OMEN Formation, a three-ship of Hercules aircraft conducted a farewell flypast, taking in locations across all four nations of the United Kingdom to mark the impending retirement of the Hercules on 30 June 2023 after over 56 years of sterling service with the Royal Air Force. The lead aircraft, ZH870, was given commemorative tail art to signify the event. The final RAF Hercules, ZH870, was delivered to Marshall at Cambridge Airport at 11:30 BST on 28 June 2023.