Flying the Lockheed C-130J Hercules C4/C5 transport aircraft synonymous with the RAF, 47 Squadron RAF conduct airlift and re-supply operations for the United Kingdom’s Special Forces (UKSF).
2.0 Operational Command
47 Squadron RAF was originally formed at Beverley in 1916 and before 2011 the squadron was located at RAF Lyneham but moved to RAF Brize Norton on 01 July 2011 (RAF, 2014).
RAF Brize Norton is located in Oxfordshire, England, and is commanded by a Group Captain (OF-5).
The primary roles of 47 Squadron RAF in relation to UKSF operations include:
- Air drop of UKSF personnel at high, medium and low level;
- Air drop of supplies to forces in the field;
- Resupply/delivery/casualty evacuation/recovery of ground units (often via ad hoc airstrips); and
- Tactical Air Landing Operations (TALO) (facilitating the seizing of airfields by flying UKSF, Paratroopers and RAF Regiment personnel directly onto the runways)
Other roles may include:
- Acting as Air Land Refuel Points (ALARPS) (in which C-130s configured with additional fuel tanks can refuel other aircraft, such asJoint Special Forces Aviation Wing Chinooks on the ground, sometimes even behind enemy lines);
- Radio Signals Intelligence (SIGINT);
- Electronic Signals Intelligence (ELINT); and
- Relaying Voice/Video data for UKSF on the ground.
47 Squadron RAF missions often involve flying extremely low and at night to evade detection.
RAF (Royal Air Force) (2014) 47 Squadron. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.raf.mod.uk/organisation/47squadron.cfm. [Accessed: 08 August, 2014].