US MC-130J lands on highway in Sweden to unload HIMARS artillery system during special operations exercise
The MC-130J Commando II Special Operations aircraft unloaded an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System which was then loaded on a Swedish C-130 during the latest exercises on Gotland.
A really interesting training mission was carried out on Saturday 23 October 2021 in Sweden, where a US Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130J Commando II aircraft landed on a motorway on Gotland, Sweden’s largest island, strategically located in the Baltic Sea. Sea.
The American special operations aircraft arrived over the road segment used for the exercises in formation with a Swedish air force C-130H (locally designated TP 84) and two Swedish JAS 39 Gripen jets.
Following the road landing, the MC-130J, belonging to the 67th Special Operation Squadron of the 352d Special Operations Group (352 SOG) from RAF Mildenhall, UK, unloaded an M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System).
– US Spec Ops Europe (@US_SOCEUR) October 23, 2021
HIMAR’s rocket artillery system is a light multiple rocket launcher developed in the late 1990s for the US Army, mounted on a truck frame and carrying six rockets or an MGM-140 ATACMS missile.
The HIMARS system was then charged on the Swedish TP 84.
And perhaps even more interesting, it #HIMARS was then loaded on a Swedish C-130H Hercules (local designation TP 84) and moved to another location in Sweden. h / t @GripenNews #turpo=# säkpol https://t.co/UycesACQIR
– Corporal Frisk (@CorporalFrisk) October 23, 2021
According to Swedish MOD, the motorway landing and the M142 unloading / loading operation with HIMARS were part of a Swedish-led special forces exercise that is currently taking place in southern Sweden and on Gotland, where operational and tactical management and coordination of several parallel combat and intelligence operations are exercised and developed.
“We have taken further steps in cooperation with the USA, where we with American military transport aircraft have moved a long-range artillery system to Gotland, reloaded to a Swedish military aircraft for further transport within Sweden. The opportunity to act with this and other types of ground or airborne weapon systems together with our partners, I think removes all doubt about our common ability to be a guarantor of security in the Baltic Sea area, says the special forces’ leadership, Brigadier General Anders Löfberg.
Although Sweden has a long-standing political policy of neutrality and is not part of the NATO treaty, it is a member of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and regularly participates in joint exercises with the United States and the rest of the Western allies. During the Cold War, the Swedish government secretly made preparations to receive military assistance from the United States in the event of Soviet aggression.
Gotland in particular is considered to be extremely strategic in the region, so much so that it is considered a “permanent aircraft carrier in the Baltic Sea”. Last year, the Swedish military had to deploy four warships and an unspecified number of ground forces and fighter jets in response to a large Russian naval exercise that also included a simulated amphibious landing. activate regional alarms. US Special Operations aircraft operate regularly in Sweden and Gotland and it seems more than likely that this will be even more the case in the future.
As for the MC-130J Commando II, here are some details about the aircraft we published in 2017, when some images released by the US DoD proved that the multimission combat transport / special operations tanker had joined the OIR (Operation Inherent Resolve) against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
MC-130J Commando II, which has replaced MC-130N / P Combat Shadow II aircraft, is the modern special operation variant of Hercules, whose primary roles is HAAR (Helicopter Air-to-Air Refueling) of SOF helicopters / tiltrotor aircraft, infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of SOF by airdrop or landing at remote airports. Interestingly, the aircraft can also be used for Forward Air Refueling Point (FARP) operations to perform covert, nightly refueling operations at deployed locations where gas stations are not available or when air-to-air refueling is not possible.
MC-130Js work mainly at low altitude and at night, performing secret missions with a reduced probability of visual capture and interception of airborne threats.
According to the US Air Force, the MC-130J has an advanced two-pilot air terminal with fully integrated digital avionics; fully populated Combat Systems Operator (CSO) and additional aircraft deck stations; 13 colors multifunctional liquid crystal displays; head-up displays; fully integrated navigation systems with dual inertial navigation systems and global positioning system; integrated defensive systems; low-grade gradients; digital moving map display. The aircraft is equipped with new turboprop engines with six-bladed, fully assembled propellers; digital autopilot; improved fuel, environmental and ice protection systems; improved load handling system; Universal Air Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI), air tanks, electro-optical / infrared (EO / IR) system; dual SATCOM for voice / data; 60/90 KVA generators; increased DC power, loadmaster / scanner retention system; and LAIRCM regulations.