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RAF Fairford - Bomber Task Force post-deployment operations update

RAF Fairford recently hosted a United States Strategic Command, Bomber Task Force deployment of B-52 Stratofortress aircraft from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Six B-52s arrived at RAF Fairford between 14-15 March, along with over 400 support personnel, who made RAF Fairford their home for a few weeks.

The deployment of strategic bombers to RAF Fairford helps to exercise the base as the United States Air Forces in Europe’s Forward Operating Location for bomber aircraft. The strategic bomber missions from Fairford enhance the readiness and training necessary to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe.

During their time here, Airmen from the 2nd Bomb Wing flew missions over several areas in the European theatre, including Estonia/Baltic Sea, Norwegian Sea, Greece/Mediterranean Sea, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, Romania, Hungary and Morocco, where they took part in the annual “African Lion” training exercise. These missions enabled the deployed personnel to conduct interoperability training with NATO Allies. Joint training opportunities like these enhance the ability to operate together and sharpen the readiness of the NATO alliance.

RAF Fairford has been designated as a USAF bomber Forward Operating Location since the 1990’s, and enables the US and NATO to conduct a full spectrum of flying operations in the European theatre. The deployments mean that the base experiences periods of airfield activity followed by quieter periods. For reasons of operational security it is not possible to give specific dates when airfield activity will start and end.

In addition to the above, it has recently been announced that the USAF 95th Reconnaissance Squadron and 488th Intelligence Squadron will relocate the RC-135 RIVET JOINT mission from RAF Mildenhall to RAF Fairford as part of the European Infrastructure Consolidation. RC-135 aircraft will also use RAF Fairford as a Forward Operating Location and deploy as required from the United States. Planning has started for the relocation of this mission, which will involve around 880 personnel plus family members, who will be stationed at RAF Fairford and become part of the local community. The relocation of personnel is expected to begin in 2023.

To view photos and videos of the Bomber Task Force, visit:


For more information about activities at RAF Fairford, you can follow the 501st Combat Support Wing on:



Press releases regarding aircraft activity at RAF Fairford and elsewhere in Europe are available on:


If you have any specific queries about activities at RAF Fairford, please contact Jenny Collyer, Community Relations Adviser, at 01285 714965 / jennifer.collyer.2.gb@us.af.mil, and 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs at 01480 843857 / 501csw.pa@us.af.mil.


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The Royal International Air Tattoo is offering half price Friday and Sunday tickets to next summer’s airshow.

Valid for Friday 19 and Sunday 21 July, residents with specific postcodes living close to RAF Fairford – where the world-famous military airshow is held – have until May 31 to purchase up to two discounted tickets per residential household as a ‘thank you’ for their support.

Next summer’s event is set to be ‘out of this world’ as not only will the airshow feature the world’s most exciting aircraft, but it will turn its spotlight into space.

The airshow’s theme Air & Space: inspiring the Next Generation Air Force follows an announcement earlier this year that the Royal Air Force will be taking command and control of the UK’s military space operations, reflecting the importance of space in ensuring successful military operations around the world.

The focus on space will be particularly poignant as the 2019 airshow will be staged on the same weekend, 50 years ago that the first Moon landing took place in 1969.

Andy Armstrong, Chief Executive of RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, which organises the event, said: “2018 was a very special year as not only did we welcome a record-breaking 185,000 visitors to RAF Fairford, but we were honoured to be the ‘official international celebration’ of the Royal Air Force’s centenary.

“To mark the occasion, the Friday of last summer’s show featured a full flying display and in recognition of this added disruption and to show gratitude for locals’ cooperation, we offered free admission tickets to those living nearby.

“Next year will see the Friday of the airshow revert to a shorter, preview day with a limited number of tickets. However, we still want to recognise our neighbours’ support and therefore we are giving locals, living within selected postcodes, the opportunity to purchase half price tickets for the Friday and Sunday of the airshow”.

The residents’ discount reduces the price of an adult admission ticket from 57.00 to 28.50.

To secure half-price tickets, residents with specific postcodes, must visit Air Tattoo HQ, located at Douglas Bader House, Horcott Hill, Fairford, GL7 4RB, 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday and bring a household bill or document displaying a name, address with valid postcode and photo ID.

The deadline for purchase is 5pm on Friday 31 May 2019, no tickets will be available after this point.

The Royal International Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. To find out if your postcode is eligible for a discounted ticket, or to discover more about the airshow, visit www.airtattoo.com.


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