1 February 2013

7th March 1976

USAF Fighter Deployment - 'Coronet Rally'

I commenced monitoring this exercise early on Sunday morning, when I copied SPURT 51/52/53/54 at 39.52n 55w 09:15 blocking F270/290 40n 50w 10:10 40n 40w 10:35 LIMA at 39.30n 21.46w 11:17

This was the first wave of 12, KC-135 tankers that had departed from Pease AFB, New Hampshire at 05:35 to rendezvous with 17, RF-4C's. These Phantoms from the 363TRW/62TRS, were routing from Shaw AFB, South Carolina to RAF Alconbury, UK for a deployment until the 24th March. The other eight tankers were calling SPURT 61/62/63/64/71/72/76 & 77.

They had established their HF flight guard with MacDill Airways (HQ of Strike Command, Florida) on frequency 6750 upper, when they joined up with the F-4's, callsign's FEWER 11-16, 21-26 and 31-36, blocking F270/290.

The Stateside based tankers escorted the FEWER flight to the ARCP at 39.05n 29.15w where they climbed to F390 for the return leg to Pease AFB. At this point the refuelling task was taken over by another 12, KC-135's from Torrejon, Spain, using call-sign's LINZ 56/57/58/59/66/67/68/69/76/77/78 & 79.

After these tankers had completed their refuelling tasks, nine returned to Torrejon, via Santiago, blocking F270/280.

For the initial part of this deployment, 'duckbutt' (air sea rescue) cover was provided by KING 58, a HC-130 at F210, which subsequently routed into Lajes, Azores. From 41.15n 23.01w this essential cover was provided by another HC-130, call-sign KING89, which had departed RAF Bentwaters at 06:45 (its normal base of RAF Woodbridge being closed due to runway repairs), routing out at F220. It reached this rendezvous point at 11:05, where it remained in orbit 'till 14:00 (now at F240) when it joined up with the inbound KC-135's and F-4's for the return leg. It's ETA back to Bentwaters was 17:45. The KING 89 relayed traffic back to Woodbridge Rescue via 'phone patch on 11226 Upper (HF).

On approaching 49n 08w the flight of remaining tankers and fighters called London Military on 293.0 UHF and routed in via Lands End to RAF Alconbury, where the first F-4 touched down at 15:12.

This operation had taken over 12 hours to complete, over half of which the author had monitored on various HF frequencies, 5688, 6750, 8967, 8989, 11226

For the record, the RF-4C's involved were 65-0936, 65-0937, 65-0938, 65-0942, 66-0419, 66-0427, 66-0455, 66-0460, 66-0461, 67-0430, 67-0456, 67-0457, 67-0461, 68-0576, 72-0145, 72-0147 and 72-0149. The tankers and Hercules remain unidentified.

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