A HUGE RAF military aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing at Cardiff Airport, after declaring a mid-air emergency.

The C-130 Hercules aircraft departed from RAF Brize Norton on Wednesday evening (November 24), heading south shortly after 10pm.

However, less than an hour later, the crew reported a problem on board, issuing an emergency call.

The plane, which was at this time high above Cornwall, made a U-turn, and significantly lowered its altitude to around 5,000 feet.

It was reported that they had a “general emergency”.

As a result, the plane diverted away from its original flight plan, coming in to land at Cardiff Airport at around 11.30pm.

Today, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) confirmed that the aircraft suffered a technical issue mid-flight.

The crew was able to bring the aircraft back to land safely, and the crew is reported to be safe and well.

A spokeswoman for the RAF at Brize Norton confirmed that the aircraft was operating on a routine training flight when difficulties were encountered.

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Statement from the RAF in full

A spokeswoman for the RAF, at Brize Norton told the Argus: “A C-130 Hercules from RAF RAF Brize Norton on a routine training sortie had a technical issue leading to a precautionary landing at the nearest suitable airfield which was Cardiff.

“The aircraft landed safely and the crew are fine.”

According to flight tracking programme Flight Radar 24, the diverted flight was the 19th time that aircraft had taken to the air in the last seven days - but the first time it was diverted.

The aircraft has been used to carry out a number of training flights over the past week – all of which taking off and landing back at Brize Norton after fairly short flights of varying length – with the exception of last night’s diverted flight.

According to tracking software, the aircraft remains on the ground at Cardiff Airport at this time.

It is not yet known when it might be in a position to return to Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire.