List of Royal Air Force stations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
RAF Cranwell College Hall

This list of RAF Stations is a list of all current Royal Air Force stations, airfields, and administrative headquarters of the Royal Air Force. Also included are airfields operated by the Ministry of Defence but no longer considered as RAF stations, MOD air weapons ranges and stations operated by the US Visiting Forces.

RAF stations and MOD airfields in the UK

Royal Air Force (RAF)

RAF Voyager at RAF Brize Norton
Airbus A-330 Voyager at RAF Brize Norton.
Squirrel Helicopter at RAF Shawbury
Eurocopter Squirrel HT1 at RAF Shawbury.

RAF front-line operations are focussed on seven main operating bases (MOB's) -

Operations are supported by numerous other flying and non-flying stations, with activity focussed at RAF Honington which coordinates Force Protection and RAF Leeming and RAF Wittering which have a support enabler role.

Stations such as RAF Cranwell and RAF Valley form part of the UK Military Flying Training System which is dedicated to training air-crew for all three UK armed services. Specialist ground crew training is focused at RAF Cosford and MOD St. Athan.

The Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) at RAF Boulmer is tasked with compiling a Recognised Air Picture of UK air space and providing tactical control of the Quick Reaction Alert Force. In order to achieve this Boulmer is supported by a network of seven Remote Radar Heads (RRH's) and a Remote Radio Site (RRS) spread the length of the UK.

Ministry of Defence (MOD)

Several former RAF stations are still owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and are operated by QinetiQ in the test and evaluation role. The main facility providing this role is MOD Boscombe Down which still has a significant RAF presence.

A small number of former RAF stations, still owned by the MOD but no longer considered as stations, are regularly used by the RAF as relief landing grounds (RLG's) or training areas.

British Army barracks such as at Kinloss and Leuchars are listed as they perform a RLG role for the RAF.

Name Constituent country County Units and purpose
MOD Aberporth Wales Ceredigion Former RAE Aberporth, operated by QinetiQ on behalf of the MOD as a test & evaluation range.[1]
RAF Barkston Heath England Lincolnshire
RAF Barnham England Suffolk
  • Non-flying station which is a satellite site of RAF Honington and provides domestic accommodation and training facilities for the RAF Regiment.[4]
  • The MOD is expected to close and dispose of RAF Barnham by 2020.[4]
RRH Benbecula Scotland Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Remote Radar Head forming part of the UK Air Surveillance and Control System which is managed from RAF Boulmer. The station was formerly known as RAF Benbecula.[5]
RAF Benson England Oxfordshire Home of the RAF's Puma Support Helicopter Force fleet operating under Joint Helicopter Command, comprising No. 33 Squadron and No. 230 Squadrons operating the Westland Puma HC2 and No. 28 (AC) Squadron operating the Puma and Boeing Chinook HC4.[6]
MOD Boscombe Down England Wiltshire Test & evaluation airfield operated by QinetiQ on behalf of the MOD. Home to the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre, Empire Test Pilots School, Rotary Wing Test and Evaluation Squadron and the Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Squadron.[7][8]
RAF Boulmer England Northumberland Non-flying station, home to the UK Air Surveillance and Control Systems (UKASCS) Force Command, RAF School of Aerospace Battle Management and a NATO Control and Reporting Centre responsible for monitoring UK airspace.[9]
RAF Brize Norton England Oxfordshire The RAF's largest station, home to the strategic and tactical air-transport and air-to-air refuelling fleets (Boeing C-17A Globemaster, Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules C4/5, Airbus Voyager KC2/KC3 and the Airbus A400M Atlas).[10]
RRH Brizlee Wood England Northumberland Remote Radar Head forming part of the UK Air Surveillance and Control System which is managed from RAF Boulmer. The station was formerly known as RAF Brizlee Wood.[5]
RRH Buchan Scotland Aberdeenshire Remote Radar Head forming part of the UK Air Surveillance and Control System which is managed from RAF Boulmer The station was formerly known as RAF Buchan.[5]
Chetwynd Airfield England Shropshire Former RAF station, now an unmanned grass airfield used for training purposes by helicopters of the Defence Helicopter Flying School from RAF Shawbury.[11]
RAF Coningsby England Lincolnshire
RAF Cosford England Shropshire
RAF Cranwell England Lincolnshire
RAF Digby England Lincolnshire Non-flying station providing specialist communications support under command of Defence Intelligence. Station personnel are drawn from all three UK armed forces and the US military. Home to the Joint Services Signals Organisation Headquarters, Joint Signals Service Unit (Digby), No. 591 Signals Unit and the Aerial Erector School.[15]
RAF Fylingdales England North Yorkshire Non-flying station providing an uninterrupted ballistic missile early warning and space surveillance capability to the UK and US Governments.[16]
RAF Halton England Buckinghamshire
  • Training establishment comprising the Recruit Training Squadron, Airmens Command Squadron, International Defence Training, Supply and Management Training Wing, Specialist Training Squadron and several other RAF and joint support units.[17]
  • A grass airfield provides a base for No. 613 Volunteer Gliding Squadron and several RAF flying clubs.[18]
  • The MOD is expected to close and dispose of RAF Halton by 2022.[19]
MOD Hebrides Scotland Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Former RAF Benbecula, operated by QinetiQ on behalf of the MOD as a test and evaluation range.[20]
RAF Henlow England Bedfordshire
RAF High Wycombe England Buckinghamshire Non-flying administrative support station, home to Headquarters RAF Air Command, No. 1 Group (Air Combat), No. 2 Group (Air Combat Support), No. 22 Group (Training) and No. 38 Group (Air Combat Service Support).[22]
RAF Honington England Suffolk
  • Support station, home to the vast majority of the RAF Regiment including the RAF Force Protection Headquarters and Force Protection Centre, and numerous RAF Regiment squadrons including No. 20 Wing in the Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear role. The station also hosts RAF Police Headquarters and No. 3 RAF Police Wing.[23]
  • No. 611 Volunteer Gliding Squadron is the only flying unit.
Keevil Airfield England Wiltshire Former RAF station, now an unmanned airfield used for training purposes predominately by aircraft from RAF Brize Norton.[24] Has also been used by the British Army for ground exercises and by Joint Helicopter Command.[25]
Kinloss Barracks Scotland Moray Relief Landing Ground (RLG) for RAF Lossiemouth, maintained by a small number of RAF personnel. Formerly RAF Kinloss, the station is now a British Army barracks.[26]
Kirknewton Airfield Scotland Midlothian Former RAF station, now home to No. 661 Volunteer Gliding Squadron flying the Grob Viking T1.
RAF Leeming England North Yorkshire
Leuchars Station Scotland Fife Relief Landing Ground (RLG) for RAF Lossiemouth, maintained by a small number of RAF personnel operating the airfield and air traffic control radar. The former RAF station is now a British Army barracks but continues to accommodate the East of Scotland Universities Air Squadron and No. 12 Air Experience Flight (both flying the Grob Tutor T1) and No. 612 (County of Aberdeen) Squadron (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) in the medical support role.[26][28]
RAF Linton-on-Ouse England North Yorkshire Training station home to No. 72(R) Squadron operating the Shorts Tucano T1 as part of No. 1 Flying Training School (1 FTS). Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron and No. 9 Air Experience Flight operate the Grob Tutor T1 and No. 642 Volunteer Gliding Squadron the Grob Vigilant T1.[29]
Little Rissington Airfield England Gloucestershire Former RAF station, home to No. 637 Volunteer Gliding Squadron and used for military exercises.[30]
RAF Lossiemouth Scotland Moray
RAF Marham England Norfolk
RAF Mona Wales Isle of Anglesey Relief Landing Ground (RLG) for Hawk T1As operating from RAF Valley.[35]
RRH Neatishead England Norfolk Remote Radar Head forming part of the UK Air Surveillance and Control System which is managed from RAF Boulmer. The station was formerly known as RAF Neatishead.[5] Part of the site is now the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum.
RAF Northolt England Greater London
RAF Odiham England Hampshire Home of the RAF's Chinook fleet operating under Joint Helicopter Command, comprising No. 18 Squadron, and No. 27 Squadrons. No. 7 Squadron operates its Chinooks alongside No. 657 Squadron of the Army Air Corps (flying the Westland Lynx AH9A) as part of the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing which has its headquarters at Odiham. No. 618 Volunteer Glider Squadron operates the Grob Viking T1.[37]
RRH Portreath England Cornwall Remote Radar Head forming part of the UK Air Surveillance and Control System which is managed from RAF Boulmer. The station was formerly known as RAF Portreath.[5]
RRS Saxa Vord Scotland Shetland Islands Remote Radio Site forming part of the UK Air Surveillance and Control System which is managed from RAF Boulmer. The site is due to be brought back to full operational capability; although with no permanent personnel, as of September 2017. [38]
RAF Scampton England Lincolnshire Home of the RAF Aerobatic Team (The Red Arrows) flying the BAE Systems Hawk T1A. Non-flying units include No. 1 Air Control Centre and the RAF Mobile Meteorological Unit.[39]
RAF Shawbury England Shropshire Home of the tri-service Defence Helicopter Flying School, comprising 60(R) Squadron, No. 660 Squadron Army Air Corps and 705 Naval Air Squadron, flying the Eurocopter Squirrel HT1 and Bell Griffin HT1. Elements of the Central Flying School (Helicopter) Squadron train helicopter flying instructors and the School of Air Operations Control (SAOC) trains air traffic controllers for the RAF and Royal Navy.[40]
MOD St. Athan Wales Vale of Glamorgan Training station, home to No. 4 School of Technical Training and the University of Wales Air Squadron flying the Grob Tutor T1.[41]
RAF St Mawgan England Cornwall Non-flying station with the airfield part now operating as Cornwall Newquay Airport. The station is home to the tri-service Defence Survival Training Organisation and No. 505 (Wessex) Squadron RAuxAF.[42] It is also used by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to accommodate personnel utilising the Defence Training Estate within the south west of England.[43]
RRH Staxton Wold England North Yorkshire Remote Radar Head forming part of the UK Air Surveillance and Control System which is managed from RAF Boulmer. The station was formerly known as RAF Staxton Wold.[5]
RAF (U) Swanwick England Hampshire RAF (Unit) Swanwick is the military element of London Area Control Centre. The unit also operates the UK's Distress and Diversion Cell and provides air traffic control services for RAF Northolt.[44]
RAF Syerston England Nottinghamshire Home of No. 2 Flying Training School headquarters, the Central Gliding School and No. 644 Volunteer Gliding Squadron.[45]
Ternhill Airfield England Shropshire Former RAF station, now an unmanned airfield used for training purposes by helicopters of the Defence Helicopter Flying School from RAF Shawbury.[46]
RAF Topcliffe England North Yorkshire Unmanned Relief Landing Ground for Shorts Tucano T1s operating from RAF Linton-on-Ouse.[47] Home to No. 645 Volunteer Gliding Squadrons flying the Grob Vigilant T1.[48]
RRH Trimingham England Norfolk Remote Radar Head, satellite station of RRH Neatishead.[49]
RAF Valley Wales Isle of Anglesey
RAF Waddington England Lincolnshire
MOD West Freugh Scotland Dumfries and Galloway Former RAF station, operated by QinetiQ on behalf of the MOD as a test and evaluation range. The airfield is disused and unlicensed but available for military exercises.[53]
RAF Weston-on-the-Green England Oxfordshire Force Development Training Centre, used by No. 1 Parachute Training School (based at nearby RAF Brize Norton) as a parachute drop-zone.[54]
Defence CBRN Centre, Winterbourne Gunner England Wiltshire The Defence Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centre is managed by RAF Air Command. It is responsible for all training issues related to CBRN warfare for the UK armed forces.[55]
RAF Wittering England Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
RAF Woodvale England Merseyside Training station home to Liverpool University Air Squadron, Manchester and Salford Universities Air Squadron, No. 10 Air Experience Flight all flying the Grob Tutor T1and No. 631 Volunteer Gliding Squadron flying the Grob Vigilant T1. The Station is also home to No. 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron RAuxAF.[58]
RAF Wyton England Cambridgeshire Non-flying station operated under Joint Forces Command. Home to the Joint Forces Intelligence Group (JFIG), the Defence Intelligence Fusion Centre (DIFC), No. 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographic) of the British Army.[59][60]

RAF stations operated by the United States Visiting Forces

A United States Air Force CV-22B Osprey at RAF Mildenhall.

At the invitation of the UK Government, the United States has had military forces (US Visiting Forces) permanently stationed in the UK since the Second World War. The 1951 NATO Status of Forces Agreement and the Visiting Forces Act 1952, along with other bilateral acts, establishes the legal status of the USVF in the UK. Several military sites within England are made available for the USVF's purposes. An RAF commander is present at the main USVF sites and is normally of the rank of squadron leader, whereas a US colonel will normally command US personnel at each station. The role of the RAF commander is to liaise with the US base commander and act as head of establishment for Ministry of Defence employees. The use of UK bases for combat operations by the United States is a joint decision by both governments.[61]

The United States Air Force (USAF) 501st Combat Support Wing manages and supports operations at RAF Alconbury, RAF Croughton, RAF Fairford, RAF Menwith Hill, RAF Molesworth and RAF Welford.

In January 2017 the US Department of Defence announced through their European Infrastructure Consolidation programme that they would be withdrawing from RAF Mildenhall, and activities at RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth would be moved to RAF Croughton.[62] In April 2017 it was reported by the US European Command was reviewing the decision to close these stations.[63]

Name Constituent country County Units and purpose
RAF Alconbury England Cambridgeshire
RAF Barford St John England Oxfordshire Non-flying station operated as a signals intelligence relay station by the USAF. The facility is a satellite station of RAF Croughton and controlled remotely.[65]
RAF Croughton England Northamptonshire Non-flying station operated as a signals intelligence facility by the USAF and US intelligence agencies. The station is operated by the USAF 422nd Air Base Group (part of the 501st Combat Support Wing).[66][67]
RAF Fairford England Gloucestershire
RAF Feltwell England Norfolk Non-flying station, operated as a space intelligence facility by the USAF 18th Intelligence Squadron (Detachment 4), part of the 544th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group. Feltwell is parented by the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath.[70]
RAF Lakenheath England Suffolk
RAF Menwith Hill England North Yorkshire Joint UK/US signals intelligence gathering station which functions primarily as a field station of the US National Security Agency.[72] Operations are supported by the USAF 421st Air Base Squadron which is part of the 501st Combat Support Wing.[73]
RAF Mildenhall England Suffolk
RAF Molesworth England Cambridgeshire
RAF Welford England Berkshire Non-flying station used as ammunition depot in support of bomber operating from RAF Fairford. The station is operated by the USAF 420th Munitions Squadron (part of the 501st Combat Support Wing).[77]

MOD air weapons ranges

Air weapons ranges (AWR) within the UK, previously operated by the RAF, are the responsibility of the Service Delivery (SD) part of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). QinetiQ were awarded a three-year contract by the DIO in 2010 to manage the ranges but this role was taken over by Landmarc Support Services (an Interserve company) in 2014 as part of a contract covering the wider MoD Defence Training Estate.[78][79]

Name Constituent country County Units and purpose
DIO (SD) Cape Wrath Scotland Highland Parented by DIO (SD) Tain.
DIO (SD) Donna Nook Air Weapons Range England Lincolnshire Parented by RAF Coningsby.
DIO (SD) Holbeach Air Weapons Range England Lincolnshire Parented by RAF Marham.
DIO (SD) Pembrey Sands Air Weapons Range Wales Carmarthenshire
DIO (SD) Tain Air Weapons Range Scotland Highland Parented by RAF Lossiemouth.
RAF Spadeadam England Cumbria Electronic warfare range.

RAF stations and locations overseas

A RAF Harrier GR9 over RAF Akrotiri in 2010.
A RAF Harrier GR9 over RAF Akrotiri in 2010.

Permanent Joint Operating Bases

The UK operate Permanent Joint Operating Bases (PJOB's) in the four British Overseas Territories of Ascension Island, Cyprus, Falkland Islands and Gibraltar. The PJOB's contribute to the physical defence and maintenance of sovereignty of the British Overseas Territories and enable the UK to conduct expeditionary military operations.[80] Although command and oversight of the PJOB's is provided by Joint Forces Command, the airfield elements are known as RAF stations.[81]

Semi-permanent operations

The RAF have a semi-permanent presence at several overseas locations. Active military operations in the Middle East are supported by Expeditionary Air Wings which have been established at foreign airfields in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The RAF have a presence within Eastern European countries on a rotational basis as part of the NATO's Baltic Air Policing and Southern Air Policing missions.

Two squadrons are located within the United States to support close cooperation with the USAF in the operation of the MQ-9A Reaper and development of the F-35A Lighting II.

Name Country Units and purpose
RAF Akrotiri Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Al Minhad Air Base  United Arab Emirates No. 906 Expeditionary Air Wing was established in January 2013 to provide a Middle East air transport and refuelling hub.[84][85][86]
Al Udeid Air Base  Qatar No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group was established in April 2006 as the headquarters for all RAF assets in the Middle East and is responsible for UK air operations as part of Operation Kipon and Operation Shader.[87]
RAF Ascension Island  Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Permanent Joint Operating Base predominately operating as an air-bridge between RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands.[88] Also used by the United States Air Force (USAF) and NASA as a communications and satellite tracking station.
MCAS Beaufort  United States No. 617 Squadron personnel are training on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, embedded within VMFAT-501 of the US Marine Corps.[89] The squadron is expected to transfer to RAF Marham in mid 2018.
RRH Byron Heights  Falkland Islands Remote Radar Head located on West Falkland.[90]
Creech Air Force Base  United States No. 39 Squadron operate the MQ-9A Reaper alongside USAF counterparts.[91]
Edwards Air Force Base  United States No. 17(R) Squadron formed at Edwards in April 2013 to test and evaluate the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[92]
RAF Gibraltar  Gibraltar Permanent Joint Operating Base acting as a strategic staging airfield. Also functions as Gibraltar International Airport which comprises a civilian passenger terminal operated by Government of Gibraltar.[93]
RRH Mount Alice  Falkland Islands Remote Radar Head located on West Falkland.[90]
RRH Mount Kent  Falkland Islands Remote Radar Head located on East Falkland.[90]
RAF Mount Pleasant  Falkland Islands Permanent Joint Operating Base opened in 1985 after the Falklands War. No. 905 Expeditionary Air Wing operates four permanently based Typhoon FGR4s, one Voyager KC2, one Hercules C5 and two Chinook HC4s.[94]
RAF Troodos  Cyprus Signals intelligence gathering and radar station located in the Troodos Mountains, outside the Sovereign Base Areas. Operated by golf section of the Joint Service Signal Unit (Cyprus).

Map of stations within the UK

Map of the United Kingdom showing active RAF stations, Ministry of Defence (MOD) airfields (non Royal Navy or Army Air Corps), MOD air weapons ranges and RAF stations occupied by the United States Visiting Forces (USVF).

List of Royal Air Force stations is located in the United Kingdom
Barkston Heath
Barkston Heath
Barnham
Barnham
Benson
Benson
Boulmer
Boulmer
Brize Norton
Brize Norton
Chetwynd
Chetwynd
Coningsby
Coningsby
Cosford
Cosford
Cranwell
Cranwell
Digby
Digby
Fylingdales
Fylingdales
Halton
Halton
Henlow
Henlow
High Wycombe
High Wycombe
Honington
Honington
Kirknewton
Kirknewton
Leeming
Leeming
Linton-on-Ouse
Linton-on-Ouse
Lossiemouth
Lossiemouth
Marham
Marham
Mona
Mona
Northolt
Northolt
Odiham
Odiham
Scampton
Scampton
Shawbury
Shawbury
St. Mawgan
St. Mawgan
Swanwick
Swanwick
Syerston
Syerston
Ternhill
Ternhill
Topcliffe
Topcliffe
Trimingham
Trimingham
Valley
Valley
Waddington
Waddington
WOTG
WOTG
Wittering
Wittering
Woodvale
Woodvale
Wyton
Wyton
Benbecula
Benbecula
Brizlee Wood
Brizlee Wood
Buchan
Buchan
Neatishead
Neatishead
Portreath
Portreath
Saxa Vord
Saxa Vord
Staxton Wold
Staxton Wold
Spadeadam
Spadeadam
Cape Wrath
Cape Wrath
Donna Nook
Donna Nook
Holbeach
Holbeach
Pembrey Sands
Pembrey Sands
Tain
Tain
Aberporth
Aberporth
Boscombe Down
Boscombe Down
Hebrides
Hebrides
St. Athan
St. Athan
West Freugh
West Freugh
Alconbury
Alconbury
Barford St John
Barford St John
Croughton
Croughton
Fairford
Fairford
Feltwell
Feltwell
LN
LN
Menwith Hill
Menwith Hill
Mildenhall
Mildenhall
Molesworth
Molesworth
Welford
Welford
Location dot red.svg Flying Station Location dot orange.svg Training Station Location dot green.svg Support Station Location dot blue.svg UK Air Surveillance And Control System Sites Location dot purple.svg Air Weapons Range Location dot deeppink.svg MOD Aeronautical Test and Evaluation Site Location dot black.svg US Air Force Installation
WOTG = Weston-on-the-Green, LN = Lakenheath

See also

References

Citations

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  88. ^ "RAF - RAF Ascension Island". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 15 June 2017. 
  89. ^ "Defence Minister reaffirms US-UK collaboration on major equipment programmes". GOV.UK. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2017. 
  90. ^ a b c Heyman, Charles (2014). The Armed Forces of the United Kingdom 2014-2015. Barnsley, England: Pen & Sword Military. p. 143. ISBN 978-1783463510. 
  91. ^ "39 Sqn". RAF Waddington. Retrieved 13 June 2017. 
  92. ^ "17(R) Squadron". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 24 June 2017. 
  93. ^ "Why RAF Gibraltar is here". RAF Gibraltar. Retrieved 15 June 2017. 
  94. ^ Tooth, John-Paul (15 February 2016). "Everything You Need To Know About British Forces In The Falklands". Forces Network. Retrieved 18 June 2017. 

Bibliography

  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1980. ISBN 0-85130-083-9.
  • Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1981-1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, C.G, MBE,BA ,RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
  • Rawlings, John. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft. London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1969 (second edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01028-X.

External links

  • RAF Stations official web page listing current Royal Air Force stations
  • Current functions of RAF bases
  • UK "Secret Bases"
  • gallery of RAF images ServicePals.com
  • Subterranea Britannica - Cold War
  • Pastscape Search English Heritage records
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