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Night-time flying warning as helicopters and planes take to skies for military exercise

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:20 20 September 2019

An Apache attack helicopter Picture: GARY STEDMAN

An Apache attack helicopter Picture: GARY STEDMAN

(c) copyright citizenside.com

Residents in west Suffolk are being warned of overnight flying at RAF Honington involving helicopters and transport aircraft.

A C-130 Mk3 Hercules transport aircraft Picture: BECKY PAGET / MODA C-130 Mk3 Hercules transport aircraft Picture: BECKY PAGET / MOD

The C-130 Hercules, twin-rotored Chinook helicopters and Apache attack helicopers will be used in the exercise at the airfield near Bury St Edmunds overnight on Thursday, September 19 as part of a night-time tactical exercise.

A Honington spokesman said the Hercules would be bringing troops into the base under cover of darkness before they are then ferried out in the Chinook helicopters.

The troops will conduct training in the local region before returning to RAF Honington.

The Apache aircraft will provide defensive support to the operation on the ground and in the exercise area.

The pilot and cockpit of a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft through an image intensifying lens Picture: CPL STEVE BAIN / ABIPPThe pilot and cockpit of a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft through an image intensifying lens Picture: CPL STEVE BAIN / ABIPP

The spokesman said: "RAF Honington will be used to simulate a deployed operating base where minimum facilities are available to support flying operations.

"Much of the flying will be conducted using night vision goggles - a critical part of successful night operations.

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"We hope that disruption can be kept to a minimum to our neighbouring communities and that they will understand the importance that night-time operations play in maintaining a tactical advantage."

Troops file on to a Chinook helicopter Picture: CPL ROB TRAVIS /  MoD Crown Copyright 2016Troops file on to a Chinook helicopter Picture: CPL ROB TRAVIS / MoD Crown Copyright 2016

The aircraft will be operating from 10pm until 7am on Friday morning.

RAF Honington is home to the RAF Regiment and is the depot for its recruit training.

It is also the hub of RAF force protection, which is responsible for protecting the RAF at home and abroad.

However in recent months it has seen an increase in flying activity, being used to support tactical aircraft movements as well as routine helicopter flights.

The C-130 Hercules is a medium size transport aircraft based at RAF Brize Norton, while the CH-47 Chinook helicopter can carry up to 55 troops or up to 10 tonnes of cargo.

The AH-46 Apache attack helicopter is operated by the Army Air Corps from bases including including Wattisham in Suffolk.

RAF Honington is a former bomber base used by the RAF and the American air force during the Second World War, and post-war played a major role in the Berlin Airlift.

It was taken over by the RAF Regiment in 1992 and today is home to more than 1,500 military personnel, civil servants and contractors.

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