All hail J!

Nine months ago, a freak hailstorm caused a fair level of carnage at Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan, when it battered a large number of coalition aircraft with golf ball-sized pellets.

Many details of the incident have still yet to emerge, but the UK has provided a first estimate of the likely repair bill after this act of nature.

Dubbed Operation Weatherman, the recovery effort involved patching up five Royal Air Force C-130Js, and a BAe 146 C3 transport which had arrived in Afghanistan for the first time just one day before the 23 April event.

As covered on our defence channel yesterday, the tactical airlifters took an average of 2,000 impacts each, with the expected total cost of fixing the mess some £10 million ($16.6 million). I make that an impressive £1,000 per hailstone. Sourced from a Lockheed Martin powerpoint presentation, the collection of images below show the sort of damage caused to metal structures, while composite parts were simply punched through.

Hail crop

All five Hercs were patched up locally, including by fitting replacement ailerons scavanged from retired C-130Ks, and then underwent detailed repair work at Marshall’s Cambridge airport site in the UK. Four were back in service just five months later; a pretty impressive achievement.

If anyone out there has any snaps of additional aircraft damaged in this event we’d love to see them.


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