Recordings of US Air Force Aircraft at Shannon Over Four Days

  • Posted on: 6 September 2021
  • By: shannonwatch

We've had quite a flurry of US air Force traffic at Shannon in the past few days. But of course the government or the Department of Foreign Affairs won't explain why there were there, when the flights were authorised, or whether or not they were inspected to ensure there were no weapons on board.

On Thursday two Hercules C-130J's arrived at the airport. One came from left Pakistan airspace on Aug 31st on its way to Shannon via Amman. The other one was last seen near Al Azraq, Jordan before flying to Shannon. The two aircraft, 10-5717 and 11-5765, left on Sunday morning around 10am having spent most of 3 days at Shannon. CAll signs were RCH5717 and RCH5765.

A US Air Force C-40C registration 09-0540 came and left again within a few hours on Friday night (call sign SPAR15). It flew from Edinburgh, to Rome, then to Shannon, and from there went on to the US. 

On Sunday 5th at around 1.30pm a C-37A (registration 01-0029) arrived from Ramstein with call sign SPAR92.As we write this, it is still at the airport.

Finally (for now), three US Air Force Pilatus U-28A aircraft landed at Shannon on Saturday Sept 4th. The aircraft were 05-0446 (RCH1016), 07-0808 (RCH1018) and 04-0688 (RCH1020). As far as we know, they came from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.

The US Air Force themselves describe the U-28A as a modified, single-engine Pilatus PC-12 aircraft which is part of the Air Force Special Operations Command manned, airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance fleet. The U-28A "provides manned fixed-wing tactical airborne ISR support to humanitarian operations, search and rescue and conventional and special operation missions" they say. So why were they landing in Shannon? And were they fully compliant with the government's claims that US military aircraft landing at Shannon are not engaged in military operations or exercises, not transporting weapons or munitions, and not engaged in intelligence gathering operations?

Seven US Air Force plus the regular troop carrier flights through Shannon in 4 days. We don't know if the flights are linked to the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, a country that has been ravaged by conflict, poverty and corruption since the US forces invaded. But from past experience we know that the Irish government will refuse to tell us.