Canadian Defence Minister announces enhancements to RCAF mobility capabilities to support Ukraine and other global missions

On September 26, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced that the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is enhancing its air mobility operations based in Europe as it conducts ongoing missions there and around the world.

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Canadian Defence Minister announces enhancements to RCAF mobility capabilities to support Ukraine and other global missions

The CC-130J Hercules tactical airlifter is used for a wide range of missions, including troop transport, tactical airlift and aircrew training. It can land and airdrop heavy loads of equipment, supplies and personnel into hostile environments. The J-model Hercules can operate from unpaved airstrips in active operations and carry up to 92 fully equipped paratroopers or 128 passengers. The J-model is the newest Hercules model flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force (Picture source: RCAF)

Since late March 2022, RCAF members operating two CC-130J Hercules aircraft have been conducting operations from a hub based out of Prestwick, Scotland. The hub’s personnel have now delivered 4 million pounds of cargo – largely military aid in support of Ukraine.

To increase capacity and operational flexibility, Canada is adding a third CC-130J Hercules aircraft to the detachment, and deploying support personnel responsible for maintenance, cargo movements and administration. The Air Mobility Detachment in Prestwick will be made up of approximately 55 Canadian Armed Forces members with further augmentation based on operational tempo. When necessary, CC-177 Globemaster crews will continue to utilize the hub’s resources to increase mission efficiency and flexibility.

To reflect this change, the Prestwick Tactical Airlift Detachment will now be known as an Air Mobility Detachment. This name change is consistent with the increased frequency of flights and use of CC-177 air mobility aircraft.

Bolstering the RCAF’s operations hub will increase Canada’s ability to carry out support missions throughout Europe, including the delivery of Ukraine-bound military aid. This augmentation will also increase Canada’s ability to carry out missions in the Middle East and Africa on a periodic or as-required basis.

As Ukraine defends itself from Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion, Canada will continue to provide Ukraine with comprehensive military assistance.

“By delivering Ukraine-bound military aid donated by Canada, Allies, and partners, Canada is making a valuable contribution to Ukraine’s defence. Indeed, during meetings with counterparts, I have consistently found immense gratitude for this important work. Today’s announcement will enable Canada to deliver even more military aid bound for Ukraine – and as Ukraine continues to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, this task remains crucial.” said the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.

“The increased RCAF presence in Prestwick using this ‘Hub and Spoke’ model will allow greater flexibility and efficiency when it comes to delivering airpower to our fellow Canadian Armed Forces members and our NATO Allies. This concept will also enhance our proven ability to provide aid flights in support of Ukraine. RCAF crews in Europe have been doing a tremendous job since March and their motto of ‘Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop’ will be well supported with these new measures.” said Major-General Iain Huddleston, Commander Joint Force Air Component.