Historic Day in Irish Air Corps History – Retirement of Air Corps Reims Rocket
First published 22 June 2019. Updated 7 October 2019.
21 June marked a significant day in Irish Air Corps history, after 47 years the Reims FR172H was stood down from operational service.These aircraft were purchased in 1972 for border surveillance operations & served in various roles since then from explosive escorts to wildlife surveys.
The Reims FR172H served with the Army Co-op Squadron in Gormanston Camp and with 102 Squadron in Casement Aerodrome. Over their career the aircraft provided invaluable service to the State. They will be mostly remembered for their service along the border and Aid-to-Civil-Power duties throughout the country.
Let’s hope they enjoy their retirement!
After 47 years of service to the State, the 5 remaining (of 9 total) Reims Rocket FR172H aircraft were stood down from service in Casement Aerodrome.
The first 4 aircraft entered service on 4 October 1972 and had their last flight yesterday on 4 October 2019.
Their reliability and consistency has been unmatched, and a testament to this was their fleet hours of 63,578 hours. These were clocked up carrying out various mission roles including border surveillance, explosive escorts, cash escorts, in-shore maritime surveillance, target towing, bog surveys, wildlife surveys, general transportation flights and even one air ambulance mission!
Every pilot and technician had their ‘favourite’ aircraft and we were delighted to welcome all who had worked on the aircraft into Casement Aerodrome to celebrate this occasion.
These aircraft will be replaced by 3 state of the art multi-role Pilatus PC-12NG Spectre aircraft capable of carrying out ISR missions, Air ambulance and logistics flights.
You can watch the Reims Rocket FR172H Stand Down Ceremony here.