|My visit to RAF Mildenhall took a slight diversion to nearby RAF Lakenheath to catch a Russian AN-124 transport plane delivering a Lakenheath based HH-60G Pave Hawk (89-26208) back to the base from the US. The USAF have the ability to airlift a helicopter in either a C-5 or C-17 but there is a high demand on strategic airlift to support Afghanistan as well as other oversea deployments. The Russian AN-124s are a cost effective alternative and as used by many armed forces around the world (including the UK). Although, it still is a little strange for me to see a Russian aircraft at a US base.After a swift unload the AN-124 was fueled and was off again.
RAF Mildenhall Visitors
The local assets and visiting tankers have been quiet recently but a number of interesting visitors more than made up for it. Flying as REACH 1005 returning back to the US the AC-130U Spooky dropped into RAF Mildenhall for a night stop. He departed the next day but was forced to return with communication issues. Flying as SNOOP 55 was a rare RC-135W Rivet Joint (most of these are the V variant) also night stopping before flying East.
A KC-10 flying as Gold 41 made it in seconds before a heavy rain shower came down with passengers and cargo for the base. The final interesting visitor was a Turkish C-130E Herk who had been hangared for a few days at RAF Mildenhall with a fault. When he left on the 22nd May he was sporting one white engine which would suggest that had been replaced. The Turkish have a C-130E in Turkish Stars white paint scheme and I would guess that airframe was used to donate the engine to this one to get it home.