Planning has already started for the relocation of the RC-135 mission to RAF Fairford from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. The RC-135 aircraft will use RAF Fairford as a Forward Operating Location and around 887 US military personnel and 1,240 family members are expected to begin relocating to Fairford in 2023. The number of the personnel on base is expected to be similar to the number of American personnel at Fairford in the late 1980s.
The RC-135V/W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft is an extensively modified Boeing 707 with interior seating for more than 30 people including the cockpit crew, electronic warfare officers, intelligence operations and in-flight maintenance technicians.
Initially employed by Strategic Air Command, the RC-135 fleet has participated in every sizable armed conflict involving US assets during its tenure. More recently, RC-135s have supported Operation Allied Force in Kosovo and Operation Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector in Libya.
In order to get RAF Fairford ready for the deployment of aircraft and personnel, it is expected that there will be several operational support functions required such as:
Building a facility for squadron operations
Re-activating the commissary and base exchange (retail food stores)
Improving the surface of runway overruns
Renovating the current housing on base
Possibly building a new school and medical clinic.
It is expected that around 10% of the US personnel will be housed on base along with young single airmen. Other personnel will live off base in the community or outside the area. There will be schooling provision for children on base whilst other students may enrol in independent schools in and around the local area.
Planners for the USAF deployment have studied the impact of the move on communities in the area and believe that it will help to improve the local economy and provide additional employment.
The US Air Force is committed to building strong relationships with their British hosts and wishes to see themselves as good neighbours and part of the community.
For more information about the upcoming deployment at RAF Fairford, please contact the Community Relations Adviser, Jenny Collyer at RAF Fairford: 01285 714965, firstname.lastname@example.org or the 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs office: 01480 843857, email@example.com.