Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis Flight path of a US Air Force C-295 military transport aircraft that flew from RAF Akrotiri to Tel Aviv on Wednesday. (Screengrab: RadarBox)
The US is moving arms to Israel from around Europe using Britain’s vast air base on Cyprus, but the Ministry of Defence refuses to tell Declassified what American aircraft are flying or what weapons are on board.
Britain’s Cyprus base has become international military hub supporting Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza
American C-25 military transport plane flew from UK base on Cyprus to Tel Aviv on Wednesday
US Air Force is making transport flights from its huge bases in Germany, Turkey and Spain to the UK’s Cyprus base
Half of US planes flying from British Cyprus said to be carrying weapons for Israel
Respected Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported that over 40 US transport aircraft, 20 British transport aircraft and seven heavy transport helicopters have flown to RAF Akrotiri, Britain’s vast base on Cyprus, carrying equipment, arms and forces.
RAF Akrotiri has long been the staging post for British military operations and bombing campaigns in the Middle East. It sits 180 miles from Tel Aviv with a flight time of 40 minutes.
The planes have been loaded with cargo from strategic depots belonging to the US and NATO in Europe, Haaretzreported. Around half the US flights are said to be “delivering military aid”.
Declassified has found these US weapons and equipment are likely being delivered to RAF Akrotiri from US bases in Turkey, Spain and Germany.
On October 18 and 24, the US flew two huge C-17A Globemaster military transport vehicles to RAF Akrotiri from its air base at Rota in southern Spain. On October 25, the US flew another C-17 to Akrotiri from Ramstein air base in Germany, the site of NATO’s air command.
The C-17 is capable of transporting 134 personnel and many types of military equipment, including Abrams tanks and Black Hawk helicopters. The US military notes that the C-17’s role is to “rapidly project and sustain an effective combat force close to a potential battle area”.
On November 5, a US C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft flew from Adana in southern Turkey to RAF Akrotiri. Adana is home to the Incirlik air base, a major US facility with 5,000 American personnel. The Hercules can carry 128 combat troops and 19,600kg of cargo.
Declassified could find no US Air Force (USAF) planes arriving from these bases in the two months before the Gaza bombing campaign began.
US planes landing at Nevatim Air Force Base – located in southern Israel near the Negev desert – have delivered arms for the Israel’s military, Haaretz also reported. In addition, US aircraft landing at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv have carried, among other things, armoured vehicles.