Shannon alert over Iraq-bound aircraft

Security was tight around Shannon over the past two days as three US-built military transport planes destined for the new Iraqi Air Force spent two nights at the airport.

US military C130s are a regular sight at Shannon, but the arrival of the three in Iraqi colours created a lot of interest.

At one point, five C130s were parked at Shannon under the watchful eye of armed army personnel.

A US military Hercules was also travelling with the Iraqi planes. The fifth C130 departed Shannon Airport on Thursday evening.

Aviation enthusiasts from across the country flocked to the airport to see the Iraqi C130J Super Hercules.

Shannonwatch, a group that monitors military use of Shannon said: “Reports indicate that Iraq has ordered billions of dollars of military equipment from the US.

“This includes the C-130 Hercules aircraft seen at Shannon this week, as well as M1 Abrams tanks and F-16 jets.”

The first three new C130’s were delivered to the new Iraqi Air Force in December and January, via Prestwick in Scotland, and it is believed the three that passed through Shannon make up the rest of the order of six.

The aircraft departed Shannon Airport yesterday after their crews spent two nights in local hotels.

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