THREE heavy-duty United States Air Force (USAF) planes took off from Cardiff Airport, with a heavy metal destination in mind.

The three Lockheed C-130 Hercules planes departed the South Wales airport late this morning - Friday, May 13 - heading to the east.

And, according to live flight tracking software, all three aircraft followed a fairly similar flight pattern.

Taking to the skies over the North Sea, the planes made a turn in a southbound direction over the Netherlands, descending further over Germany, before coming in to land at Ramstein Air Base, in the south-west of Germany.

The air base is the US Air Force’s headquarters in Europe, and also used for NATO operations.

It is not currently known the purpose of the trip.

But, Cardiff Airport is often used by the United States military for training exercises due to the length of its runway, and infrequent commercial flight schedule compared to many other airports in the UK, which has become more noticeable during the pandemic.

It appears as though the overnight stay in Cardiff was part of a much longer journey for the three aircraft, before they took off again at around 11.42am.
South Wales Argus: The route that the three aircraft took (Credit: Radarbox)The route that the three aircraft took (Credit: Radarbox)

Historical flight data shows that they left the United States from Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in Missouri on Wednesday, May 11.

From here, they landed at St John’s Airport in Canada – the final refuelling stop before journeys over the Atlantic.

It is understood that the aircraft all belong to Air Mobility Command (AMC), one of the major commands of the US Air Force.

Of course, it is not the first time that the USAF have been spotted at Cardiff Airport.

Over the last few months, they have been something of a familiar site on the ground here – often used as a stopover on long haul training exercises, with air force bases in Greece and Cyprus both popular end destinations.