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No. 99 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operates the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III from RAF Brize Nortonmarker, the RAF's air transport hub.


World War I

What would become No 99 (Madras Presidency) Squadron was formed in England in 1917 from elements supplied by No. 13 Training Squadron, RFC.In India No. 99 was disbanded, being renumbered as No. 27 Squadron RAF in 1920.

No. 99 Squadron reformed in 1924 at Netheravonmarker, Wiltshiremarker.

Inter-war Period

In 1924, No. 99 replaced its venerable DH.9A with Vickers Vimys and Avro Aldershots. In 1925, it received a number of Handley Page Hyderabads, which remained in service there until 1941 and replaced the unit's Vimys and Aldershots. In 1929, it again switched to new aircraft when it began replacing its Hyderabads with Handley Page Hinaidis.

In July 1933, the unit received the first production Handley Page Heyford heavy bombers.

World War II

The squadron was the first unit to equipped with Vickers Wellingtons just before the start of World War II. It was stationed first at Newmarketmarker, and then Waterbeachmarker, assigned to No. 3 Group RAF. The squadron bombed targets in Norwaymarker and Germanymarker. In March 1942 the squadron was posted to Indiamarker operating first Wellingtons and then Consolidated Liberators. During this period, the squadron included a significant number of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircrew personnel, attached to it under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The squadron moved to the Cocos Islandsmarker in July 1945, where it remained until the end of the war. On 15 November 1945 the squadron disbanded.

Post War

The Squadron reformed on 17 November 1945, at RAF Lynehammarker equipped with Avro York it operated as part of the Berlin Airlift. It continued in the role with the Handley Page Hastings then the Bristol Britannia from 1959 to 1976. No. 99 was disbanded in 1976, following the 1974 Defence White Paper. The squadron was reformed in 2002, to operate the RAF's C-17s.


The first of the squadron's four initial C-17s was delivered to the RAF on May 17, 2001, arriving at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire on May 23. One of the first high profile missions of the squadron was the deployment of Lynx helicopters and support equipment to Macedoniamarker as part of a NATOmarker peacekeeping force. This deployment was codenamed Operation Bessemer.

Since then the Squadron has supported military exercises "Saif Sareea II" in Omanmarker, the War on Terror in Afghanistanmarker, and the Invasion of Iraq (Operation Telic.) More routine tasks have gone largely unpublicised, for example the replacement of 1435 Flight's Tornado F3s in the Falkland Islandsmarker. Previously the RAF had to lease commercial heavy lifters to return the aircraft to the UK, or launch a major logistical effort to allow a ferry flight. In any case the C-17 has proved invaluable to the RAF, so much so that the original seven year lease has been bought out, and an additional aircraft was purchased. On July 26 2007, the order for a sixth was confirmed,delivered in June 2008.

Aircraft operated

Dates Aircraft Variant Notes
1918-1919 de Havilland DH.9 Single-engined biplane bomber
1918-1920 de Havilland DH.9A Single-engined biplane bomber
1924 Vickers Vimy Twin-engined biplane bomber
1924-1928 Avro Aldershot III Single-engined heavy bomber
1925-1941 Handley Page Hyderabad Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber
1929-1933 Handley Page Hinaidi Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber
1933-1938 Handley Page Heyford Twin-engined biplane heavy bomber
Vickers Wellington I
Twin-engined medium bomber
1944-1945 Consolidated Liberator VI Four-engined bomber
1947-1949 Avro York C1 Four-engined transport
1949-1959 Handley Page Hastings C1
Four-engined transport
1959-1976 Bristol Britannia C1
Four-engined transport
2002-Present Day Boeing C-17 C-17A Four-engined strategic transport

See also




  • Edgerley, Sq/L. A.G. Each Tenacious: A History of No. 99 Squadron (1917-1976). Worcester, UK: Square One Publications, 1993. ISBN 1-8720-1767-3.
  • Gwynne-Timothy, John R.W. Burma Liberators ISBN 1-895578-02-7.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, Wing Commander C.G., MBE,BA,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd., 1964 (new edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Rawlings, John D.R. Coastal, Support and Special Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0187-5.

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