Plane Spotters: Help Us Identify This Warplane's Mission

On Sunday 25 January 2009, what is probably a US Navy C-9B Skytrain logistics aircraft was photographed at Shannon airport in neutral Ireland, at about 11 am. Even though it had no obvious military markings, it was being guarded by an Irish army security patrol. The registration number it is obliged to display was incomplete. The only number it displayed was 0050. As far as we can establish its full aircraft registration number is 160050.

We are urgently seeking more information on this aircraft, and wish to thank those who have provided research so far.

This plane is probably part of VR-52 (Naval Reserve Fleet Logistics Support) at Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Pennsylvania. It's US Navy C-9B "Skytrain", due to be phased out in the near future.

It has come to our attention over the past year that old aircraft, some of questionable air-worthiness have been transiting through Shannon airport, both with the US military and civilian airlines contracted to ferry troops and munitions through Shannon to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The civilian aircraft that have experienced mechanical trouble on these trans-atlantic flights include, OMNI Air, Kalita Air, and Murray Air. Old C130 Hercules military aircraft have also experienced mechanical trouble while making the US to Middle East trip via Shannon "neutral" airport.

Apart from the crimes against humanity that some of these aircraft have been involved in, they pose serious dangers to the civilians in the Shannon region.

Our concern with this plane is that even though it is a US Navy aircraft, it has been used for several years without the normal US Navy markings. This could suggest that it may be used to transport munitions of various types to locations that the US Government does not want the international public to be aware of.

We need assistance from anyone who has knowledge of this aircraft landing at other airports over the past year or two, especially whether it may have been to Israel in recent times.

We also ask the question as to why the Irish Army were guarding this aircraft when no army guard was placed on an OMNI Air aircraft at the airport at the same time with up to 300 US troops on board. Did the Irish Army know what cargo was on board this aircraft? Did they care? Did the Irish Government know what cargo was on board this aircraft? Did they care? Where did this aircraft come from and where was it going to?

If anyone out there as any information on this aircraft number 160050, please email us at shannonwatch(at)gmail(dot)com.

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