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RAF Brize Norton Anniversary Specials

RAF Brize Norton
Aircraft Anniversary Schemes
A400M - C-130 Hercules - C-17A


In recent months Royal Air Force Brize Norton has seen 5 resident aircraft adorned & painted to celebrate 4 different anniversaries.


The 5 aircraft in order they appeared are:


ZM406 A400M Atlas C1 – 70 Squadron 100th Anniversary

ZH880 Hercules C5 – 47 Squadron 100th Anniversary - Departed for Marshalls, Cambridge 27/07/16

ZH883 Hercules C5 – 50th Anniversary of the Hercules in RAF Service

ZZ176 C-17A Globemaster – 99th Anniversary of 99 Squadron

ZM409 A400M Atlas C1 – 75th Anniversary of Airborne Forces


70 Squadron 100th Anniversary

On the 15th April ZM406 A400M Atlas C1 emerged from Base Hangar adorned with a large emblem on the tail which depicts “demi-wing lion erased” – The official 70 Squadron badge was approved by King Edward VIII in October 1936.


70 Squadron was Formed at South Farnborough on 22 April 1916, Number LXX Squadron was the first Royal Flying Corps Squadron to fly the Sopwith 1½ Strutter.


Apart from the very early days of the squadrons existence in World War One the major role undertaken has been Air Transport. 70 Squadron have flown the following aircraft over the last 100 years. Sopwith Camels, Vickers Vimy heavy bomber, Vickers Vernon bombers/transports, Vickers Victorias, Vickers Valentias, Vickers Wellington, Consolidated B-24 Liberators, Douglas C-47 Dakotas, Handley Page Hastings, Vickers Valletas, Armstrong Witworth Argosys, C-130 Hercules & now the Airbus A400M Atlas C1.


Battle Honors are as follows:

Western Front 1916-1918*, Somme 1916*, Arras, Ypres 1917*, Somme 1918, Kurdistan 1922-1924, Iraq 1918-1929, Kurdistan 1930-1931, Northern Kurdistan 1932, North West Frontier 1937, Mediterranean 1940-1943, Egypt and Libya 1940-1943*, Greece 1940-1941, Syria 1941, Iraq 1941*, El Alamein, North Africa 1942-1943*, El Hamma, Sicily 1943, Italy 1943-1945*, Salerno, Anzio and Nettuno, Gustav Line, Gothic Line, South East Europe 1944-1945*, South Atlantic 1982, Gulf 1991.

(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)




47 Squadron 100th Anniversary

On the 18th May ZH880 arrived back at RAF Brize Norton having been painted by Marshalls of Cambridge. The transformation is simply stunning.


47 Squadron was formed at Beverley, Yorkshire on 1 March 1916 as a Home Defence squadron equipped with BE2s, BE12s and FK3s.


47 Squadron have operated the following types in the last 100 years DH9As, Fairey IIIFs, Wellesleys, Beaufighters, Mosquitos, Hastings, Beverley, Hercules.


Battle Honors are as follows:

Macedonia 1916-1918*, East Africa 1940-1941*, Egypt and Libya 1942*, Mediterranean 1942-1943*, Burma 1945*, South Atlantic 1982, Gulf 1991, Iraq 2003*.

(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)


47 Squadrons badge depicts "In front of a fountain a demoiselle crane's head" - approved by King George VI in November 1938.


The aircrafts tail is painted in the colours of 47 Sqn with the Demoiselle Cranes head in a central position, the use of this bird comes from the time the squadron spent in Sudan and Russia where this bird is extensively found.



Situated above the undercarriage doors are two aircraft outlines, these are the Royal Aircraft Factory BE2 and the Bristol Beaufighter. Forward of the wings on a black cheat line is the squadrons unofficial badge which shows the sun rising behind a pyramid. The black cheat line then expands into a large number 47 forward of this is the official squadron badge. The design is repeated on both sides of the aircraft.


This aircraft departed RAF Brize Norton on the 20th December 2016 destination Marshalls of Cambridge and was Withdrawn from Use for sale to a foriegn airforce reportedly a Gulf state. The scheme was only active from 18/05/16 - 20/12/16



50th Anniversary of the Hercules in RAF Service

The third and final aircraft to arrive back at RAF Brize Norton was ZH883 which celebrates the RAFs use of the C-130 over the last 50 years.


The first C-130K was delivered to the Royal Air Force in December 1966. The Hercules in RAF service was designated Hercules C Mk1 but as the aircraft expanded its role and mission profile several of the original aircraft were converted to C3 standard. This conversion "stretched" the fuselage. The stretching was achieved by inserting a 100 in (2.54 m) plug aft of the cockpit and an 80 in (2.03 m) plug at the rear of the fuselage.


The RAF has used the Hercules in every corner of the world for both humanitarian and supporting combat operations and has an exemplary service record. A fuller and more detailed article about the RAFs use of the Hercules will appear on these pages in the coming weeks.


ZH883 was again painted by Marshalls of Cambridge and the design is a stylised Union Flag with an RAF Roundel wrapped around the spine of the tail and large “50 Years” in black with a background of RAF Blue.


One other interesting addition to this special scheme is the The emblem of the World War II British Airborne Forces, Bellerophon riding the flying horse Pegasus which can be seen on both sides of the aircraft above the rear cargo ramp.


On the undercarriage doors squadron badges are depicted, these are of the units that currently and have previously operated the Hercules over the last 50 years.


To see the units move mouse over the badge:

24 Sqn30 Sqn47 Sqn70 Sqn206 Sqn48 Sqn36 Sqn

99th Anniversary of 99 Squadron

The fourth aircraft to recieve anniversary markings is ZZ176 which celebrates 99 Squadrons 99th year.


The aircraft emerged from base hangar on the 11th August 2016, the markings are inspired by the Squadron badge, which depicts a puma salient, leaping aggressively into the air.

The squadron was formed on 15th August 1917 at Yatesbury, Wiltshire. Over the course of its history the following aircraft have been used De Havilland DH9, DH9A bombers, Vickers Vimy, Avro Aldershot, Avro's Hyderabad, Avro Hinaidi, Avro Heyford, Vickers Wellington, Consolidated Liberator VI, Avro Yorks, Handley Page Hastings and finally the current aircraft C-17 Globemaster III.

Battle Honors are as follows:

Western Frontier 1918*, Independant Force and Germany 1918, Mahsud, 1919-1920, Waziristan, 1919-1920, German Ports, 1940-1941, Baltic, 1940-1941, France and Low Countries, 1940, Fortress Europe 1940-1942*, Ruhr 1940-1942*, Berlin 1940-42*, Biscay Ports, 1940, Arakan 1942-44, Burma 1944-45, Manipur, 1944, Eastern Waters 1945.

(Honours marked with an asterisk, may be emblazoned on the Squadron Standard)



The RAF currently have a fleet of 8 C-17's and the 1st four have been in service since May 2001.



A400M - 75th Anniversary of Airborne Forces

A400M Atlas C1 ZM409 appeared out of the new A400 servicing hangar on the 13th January 2017 wearing a new tail marking celebrating 16th Airborne Assault Brigade & Airborne forces 75th Anniversary.

On the 24th February 2017 the aircraft was involved in trails work over the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) flying a series of drops in the Fox Covert drop zone. Both the rear ramp and side para doors were used dropping a combination of loads. On completion of this sortie all development work had been completed by 206(R)Sqn and capabilities past onto the frontline squadrons to develop further.




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