Following an operation over the weekend of November 12-13, two C-130 Hercules transport planes landed at Warsaw airport with 18 Polish citizens who were evacuated from the conflict area[1] . They crossed the border at Rafah, the gateway between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, and were airlifted to safety. This evacuation is part of Operation Neon-E, a critical mission that underscores the Polish military’s commitment to ensuring the safety of its citizens in times of crisis.

The evacuation began when a group of 18 Poles found themselves in the conflict-ridden Gaza Strip. Faced with a threat to the lives of Polish citizens, the Polish government quickly decided to launch Operation Neon-E, aimed at returning them home safely and as quickly as possible. Crossing the border at Rafah[2]  presented a number of challenges, but thanks to coordinated efforts using diplomatic channels and military personnel, the entire group safely survived this critical moment.

In Egypt, two C-130 Hercules transport aircraft awaited the evacuated Poles waiting for their arrival. These are planes even ideally suited for this kind of mission[3] due to[4] :
1. Versatility: the C-130 is a multi-role aircraft suitable for use in a variety of missions, including troop transport, air cargo transport, medical evacuation and mid-air refueling.
2. Design: It has a distinctive upper-wing design, four turboprop engines and a rear loading ramp that allows for quick and easy loading and unloading of cargo and personnel.
3. Performance: The Hercules has impressive short takeoff and landing capabilities, allowing it to operate from airports lacking specialized infrastructure and in difficult conditions.
4. Variants: Various versions and variants of the C-130 have been developed over the many years the aircraft has been in service to meet the specific needs of our various militaries and the armies of allied countries. These include specialized versions of units designed for electronic warfare, search and rescue and combat missions.
5. Global use: The C-130 is used by numerous air forces around the world as a primary means of transport during military operations, humanitarian missions and disaster recovery efforts.
6. Upgrades: The aircraft has undergone several modernization programs to enhance its capabilities, extend its service life, and incorporate advanced avionics and technology.

Operation Neon-E is an excellent example of the Polish military’s readiness and speed in responding to challenges at a time of continuing uncertainty and conflict around the world, conducting such operations is crucial to ensuring the security of our citizens abroad. While the successful evacuation of 18 Poles is cause for celebration, it is important to realize the challenges such operations present. Navigating conflict zones and coordinating international efforts requires meticulous planning and strategic execution.

Looking ahead, Operation Neon-E can serve as a valuable learning experience. Continued evaluation, improved procedures and investment in advanced technology will further enhance the military’s ability to conduct effective evacuations.

The safe return of 18 Poles thanks to the coordinated efforts undertaken as part of Operation Neon-E using reliable C-130 Hercules transport aircraft is a testament to the commitment and readiness of the Polish military to effectively carry out such tasks.


Tekst powstał w ramach realizacji zadania publicznego zleconego w ramach Rządowego Programu Rozwoju Organizacji Obywatelskich na lata 2018–2030 r. „Bezpieczna Polska jutra – rozwój działań misyjnych Alioth Foundation”.



Photo: Polnische C-130, Gornaj, [accessed: 21.11.2023r]

[1] Poles evacuated from Gaza are already in the country – online [accessed: 15.11.2023r]

[2] Evacuation of Poles from Gaza: two Polish Air Force planes left Egypt for the country – online, [accessed: 16.11.2023 r]

[3] The C-130 Hercules is renowned for its ability to perform a wide range of missions. From tactical airlift and cargo transport to medical evacuation and humanitarian assistance, these aircraft have played a key role in military operations around the world.

[4]. These planes rescued Poles from Israel. What can the C-130 Hercules do? – Online rcules/ntttbsf#slide-4 [accessed: 17.11.2023].