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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Leah Farrell
100 years

Irish Air Corps celebrates 100 years of service with Dublin city fly past

The Irish Air Corps celebrated 100 years since its formation at Casement Aerodrome this morning.

LAST UPDATE | Mar 23rd 2022, 1:11 PM

THE IRISH AIR CORPS has celebrated its 100th year anniversary with a fly past across Dublin city and an event at its base in South County Dublin. 

Sixteen aircraft, planes and helicopters, made their way across the capital from West to East, over the Pheonix Park and down the Liffey towards Dublin Bay.

The aircraft included the Pilatus PC-12 surveillance aircraft, a flight of PC-9 trainers, Casa CN 235 maritime patrol aircraft and the Air Corps helicopters including the AgustaWestland 139 and EC135 P2. 

At Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel Minister for Defence Simon Coveney reviewed the personnel in their distinctive blue uniforms.

Flanked by former aircraft, including jet fighters, Coveney spoke of the importance of the work of the Air Corps and promised a largescale funding drive. 

“The centenary of the Air Corps certainly is a landmark event and it is pertinent that we celebrate today after two years of an especially high tempo of operations by the Air Corps on behalf of the State. 

Air Corps Centenary 005 Leah Farrell Minister For Defence Simon Coveney addressing the event at Casement Aerodrome. Leah Farrell

“Each of you have supported the national effort in the face of a national emergency and in support of ongoing military activities.

“Over the last 100 years, we have faced many tests and challenges and will continue to do so, however with the drive, ambition and dexterity shown by Air Corps personnel, I know they will be met head on.

“Among the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of the Defence Forces are of course recommendations related directly to the role of the Air Corps.  I believe this is a positive and evolving time for the Air Corps and the Defence Forces in general,” he said. 

The Minister noted that two new Maritime Patrol Aircraft at a cost of €228m will join the fleet next year.

Air Corps Centenary 014 Leah Farrell An AW 135 with an EC 135 P2 of the Irish Air Corps during their flypast to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Irish Air Corps. Leah Farrell

The two new aircraft will replace the two CASA 235 Maritime Patrol aircraft, which have been in service since 1994.

“In addition to their maritime surveillance role, these air craft will provide a wide range of services including logistics support and transport of troops and equipment, medical evacuation and air ambulance, search and rescue and a general utility role.

Air Corps Centenary 003 Leah Farrell Minister Coveney inspecting a Guard of Honour at Casement Aerodrome. Leah Farrell

Lieutenant General Seán Clancy, Defence Forces Chief of Staff, who has served as an Air Corps pilot, thanked all members of the Air Corps past and present for their commitment and dedication.

“I am so proud of all who serve, have served and who support the Irish Air Corps.

“No matter what tasking, be it on maritime surveillance patrols, assisting with forest fires, search and rescue operations or the additional COVID-19 related taskings that you undertook, the selfless manner in which you meet these challenges head on, reflects the spirit of the generations that proceed you and inspires the next to make a difference.

“I am honoured to celebrate with you all on your 100th Anniversary and thank you for your service and sacrifice”.

The recent Commission on the Defence Forces recommended a major investment in personnel and also aircraft. 

In a three tier approach the report recommended new helicopters, including attack helicopters for Special Forces Operations, a heavy lift aircraft capability and an ambitious strategy to establish an indigenous fighter jet capability to police Irish skies.  

The Journal recently accompanied Irish Air Corps helicopters on a counter terror exercise with the Army Ranger Wing.  

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