No. 99 Squadron RAF: Wikis


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No. 99 Squadron RAF
99 Squadron badge
A Puma salient
Active 15 August 1917 - 1920
1924 - 7 January 1976
2002 - Present Day
Role Air Transport
Base RAF Brize Norton
Motto Quisque tenax
Latin: "Each one tenacious"
Equipment C-17 Globemaster III

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




World War I

What would become No 99 (Madras Presidency) Squadron was formed in England in on 15 August 1917 from elements supplied by No. 13 Training Squadron, RFC. It was equipped with Airco DH.9 bombers in 1918, deploying to France to form part of the Independent Air Force, the RAFs strategic bombing force. It flew its first mission on 21 May, and continued to take part in large scale daylight raids against targets in Germany,sustaining heavy losses both due to the unreliable nature of the DH.9 and heavy German opposition. As an example, during one one raid against Saarbrücken on 31 July 1918, seven out of nine aircraft from 99 Squadron were shot down.[1] 99 Squadron was withdrawn fromthe front line on 25 September to be re-equipped with Airco DH9A bombers,it still being in the process of converting when the First World War ended. It had took part in 76 bombing raids, dropping 61 tons of bombs and claiming 12 German aircraft.[1]

In 1919 it was sent to India flying patrols over the North West Frontier from Kohat. It was renumbered as No. 27 Squadron RAF on 2 April 1920.[1]

Inter-war Period

No. 99 Squadron reformed on 1 April 1924 at Netheravon, Wiltshire, flying Vickers Vimys. In May 1924, it moved to RAF Bircham Newton in Norfolk, uniquely receiving the Avro Aldershot single-engined heavy bomber. These were replaced at the end of 1925 by twin-engined Handley Page Hyderabads, moving to RAF Upper Heyford in December 1927. In 1929, it again switched to new aircraft when it began receiving Handley Page Hinaidis, a radial engined derivative of the Hyderabad.[2][1]

By 1933, the Hinaidi, which was little improvement over bombers in use during the First World War, was recognised as obsolete, and November, the unit received the first production Handley Page Heyford heavy bombers. While these carried twice the bombload of the earlier aircraft, and had significantly better performance, it soon became outclassed, although 99 was forced to retain the Heyford until October 1938, when it converted to Vickers Wellington monoplanes.[3][2]

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 Newmarket, and then Waterbeach, assigned to No. 3 Group RAF. The squadron bombed targets in Norway and Germany. In March 1942 the squadron was posted to India 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 Islands 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 Lyneham 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.[4]


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 Macedonia as part of a NATO peacekeeping force. This deployment was codenamed Operation Bessemer.

Since then the Squadron has supported military exercises "Saif Sareea II" in Oman, the War on Terror in Afghanistan, 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 Islands. 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. In December 2009, the Ministry of Defence announced its intention to acquire a seventh aircraft to be operated by this unit.

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



  1. ^ a b c d Rawlings 1961, p.339.
  2. ^ a b 99 Squadron. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
  3. ^ Rawlings 1961,p.340.
  4. ^ Sqn Histories 96-100_P


  • 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, J.D.R. "Squadron Histories: No. 99". Air Pictorial, November 1961, Vol. 23 No. 11. pp.339–340, 342.
  • 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.

External links


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