Norway has launched a search and rescue mission for a Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules transport with five crew members aboard that went missing about 15:50 local time on 15 March.

A Westland Sea King helicopter from Bodo air base and a Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Andoya air base are searching the C-130's last known position, according to the Rescue Coordination Centre of North Norway. Danish military helicopters have also been assigned to the activity, the Norwegian armed forces says in a statement.

The C-130J was last reported on radar slightly west of Kiruna in northern Sweden at 14:55, the rescue centre says. It had been en route to the location after taking off from Evenes in northern Norway.

 Norwegian C-130J - Norwegian armed forces

© Norwegian armed forces

The tactical transport was participating in a major military exercise called Cold Response. The manoeuvres involve more than 16,000 personnel from 14 nations, including Canada, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and the USA.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force has a transport fleet of four C-130J-30s, having retired its six older C-130Hs since taking delivery of the new aircraft from 2008. The service received its last examples from Lockheed in 2010, as recorded by Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

Source: Flight International