Five US Warplanes at Shannon this Evening

This evening Shannon Airport once again appears to be contributing to the pain being suffered by thousands of men, women and children in the Middle East. There were no fewer than five United States war planes there at about 4pm.

Two of these were US Navy C-40 cargo and troop transport aircraft, numbers 5832 and 8981. They arrived at Shannon last night from Sigonella Air base in Sicily (Italy), and probably came from the Middle East before that. They may well be on their way back to the US to collect more war materials that will be used in the ongoing assault on Mosul in Iraq.

There was also a US Navy Hercules C-130 aircraft, registration CW4994, on the tarmac at the airport when some Shannonwatch members paid a visit to Shannon.

And there were two US Marine Corps Hercules KC-130 mid air refuelling tankers, numbers QB7984 and QB5736. These two arrived at about 3pm this afternoon.

If these two refuelling tankers were heading for the Middle East then they may be joining the nine other mid air refuelling tankers that passed through Shannon in June this year.

The main purpose of these aircraft is to refuel fighter and bomber aircraft in mid air, so they can spend even more time dropping bombs and missiles without having to return to base to refuel.

The two that were at Shannon this evening belong to a particular squadron, VMGR-352, which has an airborne weapons system called "Harvest Hawk". According to the 3rd Marine Air Wing ""The aircraft carries four Hellfire and 10 Griffen GPS guided missiles, and houses an infrared and television camera. " The system is designed as a kit for rapid mission changes - the wing mounted missile pods can be quickly switched for refuelling pods, as the mission demands.   Perhaps the KC-130Js at Shannon today had these systems inside the cargo bay, away from our cameras, and uninspected by the Irish authorities, despite repeated requests from Shannonwatch. 

These five aircraft were being protected by an Irish army patrol, accompanied by a Garda patrol car on Taxiway 11.

Meanwhile at gate 42 at the main terminal building there was a large Kalitta Air, Boeing 747-222B cargo aircraft, registration N793CK. It arrived at Shannon yesterday, from Texas, via Prestwick in Scotland and may have been on charter to the US military. This Kalitta air plane took off again at about 7.30 pm this evening.

It looks like the peoples of Syria and Iraq may have a lot more air attacks in the coming days and weeks, and we in Ireland may be giving the US our full cooperation at Shannon in its business of killing and destruction. 

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