Lockheed Hercules C130K Mk3

First flown as a prototype for the United States Air Force in August 1954, the C-130 Hercules, as a troop transport, disaster relief and aerial tanker aircraft has been a mainstay of the RAF transport fleet since the late 1960s (along with those of many other air forces); it has seen extensive operational use including the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The example at RAF Museum Cosford was the last RAF C130K Mk.3 to be retired.

This Hercules C3 XV202 served with the Royal Air Force from 1967 to 2011.

I’ve always liked the concept of gaming scenarios which include the C-130 Hercules, probably down to the Raid on Entebbe, which of course has been the subject of many films.

There are plenty of 1/72 model kits of the Hercules, but for 15mm or 28mm games there is less or no choice.

Westland Wessex HC.2

This Westland Wessex HC.2 was on display at RAF Cosford.

This Westland Wessex HC.2 was on display at RAF Cosford. The HC.2 was a RAF Troop carrier for up to 16 troops, the prototype was converted from an HAS1 and an additional 73 were built.

I always had this idea of Westland Wessex helicopters flying about for games set in my world of the Second English Civil War or Team Yankee. For 20mm games there are plenty of choices, both kits and diecast models.

More photographs of the Westland Wessex HC.2.

Bravo November

Bravo November is the original identification code painted on a British Royal Air Force Boeing Chinook HC6A military serial number ZA718. It was one of the original 30 aircraft ordered by the RAF in 1978 and was in service up to 2022. It has been upgraded several times in its history, now being designated as an HC6A airframe. 

It has seen action in every major operation involving the RAF in the helicopter’s 39-year service life. Since 1982 it has served in the Falkland Islands, Lebanon, Germany, Northern Ireland, Kurdistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The aircraft has seen four of its pilots awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions whilst in command of Bravo November.

It first came to the attention of the general public for its survival of the Falklands War. In April 1982 Bravo November was loaded, along with three other Chinooks, aboard the container ship MV Atlantic Conveyor bound for the Falkland Islands on Operation Corporate. Atlantic Conveyor was hit by an Exocet missile, destroying the vessel along with its cargo. Bravo November was on an airborne task at the time and managed to land on HMS Hermes, gaining the nickname The Survivor. It was the only serviceable heavy lift helicopter available to British forces involved in the hostilities.

The helicopter was retired from service in March 2022, as part of a project to replace the RAF’s nine oldest Chinooks with more modern CH-47F variants.

In April 2022 the aircraft was transported to RAF Museum Cosford, and is now on display to the public in the museum’s new Falklands War display.

Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy

The Armstrong Whitworth Argosy was a British post-war transport/cargo aircraft; it was the final aircraft to be designed and produced by aviation company Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft.

This Armstrong Whitworth Argosy was on display at RAF Cosford.

The cargo deck.

More photographs of the Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy.

Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3

This Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR3 was on display at RAF Cosford.

Famous throughout the world as the first jet fighter capable of vertical take off and landing, the Harrier was utilised by the Royal Air Force as a ground attack and reconnaissance aircraft in the Close Air Support role.

The Harrier GR3 was a development of the Harrier GR1, being fitted with improved attack sensors, electronic countermeasures and a more powerful engine over the GR1.

The simplicity and flexibility inherent in the Harrier design proved their worth in service in Germany. In time of war the Harrier was to be deployed away from established airfields, which were vulnerable to attack. Instead it was to be operated from short, rough strips of ground and hidden in camouflaged ‘hides’, from which it would attack the enemy’s approaching armoured formations.

These qualities came into their own during the Falklands War. RAF Harriers were deployed to the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, as part of the Task Force sent to recapture the Falklands Islands. The Harrier GR3 performed attack sorties from the aircraft carrier, and later from basic landing strips on the islands, often in conditions that would have grounded conventional aircraft.

The concept of a high performance fighter aircraft being able to take off and land vertically was almost unbelievable until the Harrier was developed. The scientific, technological and engineering challenges which were overcome in order to achieve the remarkable performance enjoyed by this aircraft marks it out as one of the most special machines.

Percival Provost T.1

The Percival P.56 Provost is a basic trainer aircraft that was designed and manufactured by British aviation company Percival.

The Provost entered service with the RAF during 1953 and quickly proved to be more capable than the preceding Prentice. It was a relatively successful aircraft, being exported for multiple overseas operators. Various models were developed, both armed and unarmed, to meet with customer demands. The Provost later adapted to make use of a turbojet engine, producing the BAC Jet Provost. During the 1960s, the type was withdrawn from RAF service in favour of its jet-powered successor. It continued to be used for decades after with various export customers.