Minister Coveney, Shannon IS a Stopover for Arms Going to Theatres of War

  • Posted on: 1 July 2021
  • By: shannonwatch

Omni Air N234AX US troop carrier arrived at Shannon on Tuesday night (June 29th) at 11pm for refuelling, coming from Al Udeid air base in Qatar and Kuwait in the previous few days. It took off again at 2am on Wednesday morning on its way to Biggs air base in El Paso Texas via Baltimore Washington.


Photo taken at Shannon on a previous refueling stop last year.

Shannon and Ireland Involvement in US Africa Command Military Exercises

  • Posted on: 20 June 2021
  • By: shannonwatch


You may have seen that on June 7th the U.S. Africa Command began a huge military exercise with NATO which it calls "African Lion 21" . It is described as a multi-domain, multi-component, and multi-national exercise which employ "a full array of mission capabilities with the goal to strengthen interoperability among partner nations and enhance the ability to operate in the African theater of operations". Most of the activities are spread across Morocco, but some are also occurring in Senegal and Tunisia.

African Lion concluded on June 18th. Over 7,000 troops are reported to have taken part.

It looks like Ireland was also taking part. We tracked an Omni Air troop carrier N819AX that made two trips from army bases in the U.S. to Morocco and back, all through Shannon, in the last 2 days, presumably bringing participating troops back from these military exercises.

Solemn Vigil at Shannon Remembers Child Victims of War

  • Posted on: 14 June 2021
  • By: shannonwatch

Sunday June 13th saw us returning to Shannon Airport to recommence our monthly peace vigils. We had around 20 peace activists there, watched by around 20 Gardai.


Inside the airport, security personnel, including an Irish army patrol, protecting three US Marine Corps Hercules KC-130J warplanes that had landed the previous night. They stayed overnight at Shannon, meaning that their crews and military passengers were almost certainly in local hotels for the night.

Shannon Airport Viability Should Not Depend on the US Military

  • Posted on: 7 June 2021
  • By: admin

The peace and human rights group Shannonwatch have called on the Irish government to avoid using the US military to help keep Shannon Airport open as it struggles to remain viable. In light of the recent Aer Lingus announcement that it was closing its passenger operations at Shannon, Shannonwatch call for a development strategy for the airport that does not include a reliance on the transit of foreign troops and their weapons to keep it open.

More Warplanes at Shannon

  • Posted on: 24 May 2021
  • By: shannonwatch

We're back in business, photographing warplanes at Shannon Airport!

The most notable or notorious one today was this US Air Force C32B, registration 00-9001. It is one of two such planes operated by the 486th Flight Test Squadron out of Eglin Air Base in Florida and also  Joint Base McGuire in New Jersey. It was using call sign KAPPA77, and had recently been in Oslo and Athens. It also passed thorough Shannon around midnight on 20th/21st May.


Joyriding US Air Force Pilot

  • Posted on: 23 May 2021
  • By: shannonwatch

In Ireland many young drivers have been justifiably prosecuted for joyriding offences under the Road Traffic Act. On Tuesday 18th May we had a form of joyriding not seen before in Ireland, but there is unlikely to be any prosecution.

The joyriding was in the skies over Ireland, sometimes at heights of close to 3,000 feet. A US Air Force pilot in charge a massive C17A Globemaster III aircraft took what appears to be an unscheduled sightseeing flight path along by the Cliffs of Moher and over Galway Bay, before heading inland over Longford at a level of 8,000 feet and lower. It then flew on to  Casement Aerodrome where it landed. The pilot informed Air Traffic Control that: “I am a native of Longford, Ireland and so we are just giving everybody out here a little hello from us."

EC-130H Electronic Attack Aircraft at Shannon Today

  • Posted on: 20 May 2021
  • By: shannonwatch

73-1594_EC-130H__Compass_Call__USAF.jpgAt Shannon today we had a US Air Force electronic warfare and intelligence gathering plane. Its a Hercules EC-130H 'Compass Call' registration 73-1583. It came from Siauliai in Lituania,  made a stop at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, arrived at Shannon at 13.02pm and took off again at 14.56, flying to the Azores.

On the Wikipedia page the EC-130H Compass Call is described as an electronic attack aircraft. It is based on the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules, and is heavily modified to disrupt enemy command and control communications, perform offensive counterinformation operations, and carry out other kinds of electronic attack.

NATO Air Forces Using Shannon Like its their Military Base

  • Posted on: 15 May 2021
  • By: shannonwatch

In the past few days we've had three NATO air forces using "neutral" Shannon Airport to refuel and train. On Friday (14th May) a US Air Force Learjet C21A (84-0087 arrived) from Ramstein Air Base in Germany at 11.17am and took off again at 13.06pm heading for Hamburg in Germany. It was also at Shannon on 11th May.

Another almost identical US Air Force C21A Learjet number (84-0096) arrived at Shannon at 10.53, also coming from Ramstein. It took off again heading back towards Ramstein at 13.51.

Military Contracted Plane Flew Between Three Military Bases in 32 Hours, Landing at Shannon Airport Twice

  • Posted on: 11 May 2021
  • By: shannonwatch
Photo taken at Shannon in 2020

Omni Air plane number N234AX, flight number CMB501 on contract to the US military, travelled a very unusual flight sequence on Sunday May 9th. It took off from Hill Air base which is a major US Air Force base in Ogden, Utah and flew directly to Shannon Airport. It then went on to Charles de Gaul CDG, Paris, then to Mont-de-Marsan Airbase, also in France.

Mont-de-Marsan is a secretive test facility for French cutting edge aircraft and related weapons systems. Wikipedia describes it as home to two squadrons of Dassault Rafale, the most advanced French fighter aircraft. The base includes Centre d'Essais des Matériels Aéronautiques - CEMA (the French air force military experimentation and trials organisation), an air defense radar command reporting centre, and an air defence control training site.

From there, N234AX headed north and then took an unusual turn rather than land at Charles de Gaulle, heading as if towards Ramstein. It made another turn heading south east again.