Covert workhorses

Babak Taghvaee examines the vital work performed by Royal Air Force Chinook and Hercules in support of UK Special Forces during Operation Shader

MILITARY UK SPECIAL FORCES

Hercules ZH887 was one of the last C5 models remaining in service with 47 Squadron. This specific aircraft, retired during the summer of 2019, was regularly used for special forces training missions, seen here departing the unpaved and rough runway of a special forces training centre in Jordan.

United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) have been heavily engaged in Operation Shader, the UK’s anti-ISIS effort in Iraq and Syria. They have performed covert and highly classified tasks, mostly reconnaissance missions or acting as forward air controllers (FAC), directing UK and US airstrikes. Additionally, largely unnoticed by the British public, RAF Chinook helicopters and Hercules transport aircraft have provided airlift for UKSF during these missions.

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