USAF's C-145A Combat Coyote bows out
On 15 December 2022, three C-145A Combat Coyote aircraft from the Air Force Reserve's 711th Special Operations Squadron Spectre, part of the 919th Special Operations Wing, departed Duke Field's (FL) flightline for a small farewell ceremony.
For the last time, after a decade of service within USAF's Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), the C-145A Combat Coyote aircraft flew to a dirt runway on the Eglin Range (FL). After that, the Combat Coyote's landed in sequence and proceeded in tight formation down Duke Field's tarmac, respectfully marking the end of an era.
The three Combat Coyotes involved are: 12-0331 (N331MF), 12-0335 (N335RH) en 12-0336 (N336MJ).
After being initially operational deployed to Kandahar Air Base (Afghanistan) in 2011, the 919th Special Operations Wing began utilising the Combat Coyote in 2012. Combat Aviation Advisors (CAA) from the 711th SOS used the aircraft to maintain proficiency prior to instructing partner nation aircrew on a wide range of advanced aviation tactics. Instructors from the 5th Special Operations Squadron Detachment 1 at Duke Field trained USAF pilots on the aircraft for AFSOC.
Although it was not used for overseas deployments in recent years, the Polish built C-145A, a derative of the PZL Mielec M28 Skytruck, provided a tactical mobility advantage to missions downrange when they were initially purchased by AFSOC. They could make short landings and takeoffs, ideal for rural, undeveloped airfields and cargo delivery to forward operating bases.
At this moment it is unknown to Scramble Magazine what will happen to the remaining C-145A aircraft. It is possible that some of them will be transferred to the Arizona Boneyard for storage and will be later handed over to friendly nations for further use. In 2019, the US already donated two C-145As to the Estonian Air Force. More recently, the Kenyan Air Force received two aircraft and one more is likely to follow.
Photos via 919th SOW