Updated: Oct 6, 2020
"No duff no duff - we are on fire, we are on fire."
This was the final radio transmission from Hilton 22 in the afternoon of 30 Jan 2005. The UK C-130K exploded 500ft from the ground as the pilot desperately tried to lower the landing gear. The plane had been hit by enemy fire which pierced a fuel tank. The subsequent explosion ripped off the right wing. Intelligence later shared highlighted imminent threat in the area. This information was not shared with the crew.
The Australian logistics element in Baghdad had come to know the crew well and were obviously deeply saddened by the news that their friends had been killed.
Sadness in time turned to anger and frustration for friends and family of the crew.
Explosive-suppressant foam (ESF), which prevents fuel tanks blowing up if they are hit, was not fitted to the plane even though US Air Force Hercules have had it since the 1960s. Intelligence breakdown contributed to the attack but a procurement decision sealed the fate of the crew. Never cut a corner and never forget. RIP. https://www.gov.uk/government/fatalities/squadron-leader-patrick-marshall?