17 February 2013

6th November 1976

Deployment "CORONET FIFE" (Part of the 'Autumn Forge' Exercises)

The activity started around 08:00 when KC-135's call-signs GADGE 77/54 and 57 called Croughton Airways on 6750 for ground radio checks.

The first position report was copied from GADGE 57 flight 10w 11:28 blocking F220/240 50n 15w 11:56. This was a cell of four KC-135's (GADGE 54/55/57/59) heading west with F-105's, to rendezvous with eastbound tankers, with call-sign grouping of FAKER. This group of tankers all later returned to RAF Mildenhall.

The GAGDE 65 flight (five KC-135's, GADGE 65/66/67/68/69) also with F-105's in tow, reported 50n 08w 11:49 blocking F220/240 50n 10w 12:00 50n 20w 12:58. GADGE 65/69 returned to RAF Mildenhall, whilst '66/67/68 returned to Torrejon.

The next cell of another four KC-135's, GADGE 75/76/77/78 passed 50n 08w 12:11 blocking F220/240 50n 10w 12:22 50n 20w 13:18. At 13:54 GADGE 76/77/78 headed back to Torrejon whilst GADGE 75 returned to RAF Mildenhall at 14:05. This group of tankers were dragging four F-105's, call-signs BORN 31/32/33/34.

The Stateside based tankers were 'working' MacDill Airways on 8989, when FAKER 50 reported his est for the ARCP at 15:17, with FAKER 56 ETA ARCP of 15:18. This cell comprised five KC-135's, FAKER 50/51/53/54/56. FAKER 56 reported 47.50n 51w 14:55 blocking F270/280 48n 50w 15:05

The other CONUS tanker support comprised two more cells of five KC-135's in each, FAKER 60/61/63/65/66 and FAKER 71/72/73/74/75.

The F-105's were all handed over to these 'new' tankers at 50n 40w for the remainder of their flight into CONUS.

The aerial control support was provided by an EC-135K from 8th TDCS, 55-2536, callsign 'HEADANCER', who had departed from RAF Mildenhall earlier, having arrived there the previous day (5th). HEADANCER was assigned the following HF freq's for the deployment, 11176, 5703, 3067

Rescue 'Duckbutt' support was provided by KING 02 who was copied 80 nautical miles from Gander at F180, with a 'phone patch to Selfridge ANGB, 63rd ARS on DSN 273-5901.

The final report was copied from FAKER 72 at 52n 49.44w 16:28 blocking F260/280 51.46n 53.04w 16:46 with 51.33n 55.56w next.

This was the returning deployment of 14 x F-105's from RAF Lakenheath, UK. The full deployment of 16, F-105's arrived into the UK on 22nd October 1976 but two aircraft (61-0212 and 62-4365) had to return to Lakenheath with problems on only got away on the 18th November.
The 14 fighters involved in this report were 58-1173, 59-1774, 60-0504, 60-0526, 61-0093, 62-4413, 59-1731, 60-0498, 61-0086, 61-0164, 62-4229, 62-4414, 63-8315 and 63-8362.

[Photo: 62-4365 F-105D at Lakenheath © unknown/via Peter Greengrass collection]

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