United Kingdom OOB 2008

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The Armed Forces of the United Kingdom 2008

The Armed forces of the United kingdom are divided into 3 sections: -

  • The Royal Navy (R.N.) this is also known as the Senior Service.
  • The Army
  • The Royal Air Force (R.A.F.)

Royal Navy Assets

The major naval bases of the RN are: -

HM Naval Base, Portsmouth

Home base to surface ships, notably Carriers, Type 42 Destroyers and Type 23 Frigates. Also home Fleet Headquarters and Commander-in-Chief Home Command organisations.

HM Naval Base, Devonport (Plymouth)

Largest naval base in Western Europe. Home port for nuclear Attack submarines (SSN’s), Large Assault Ships, Type 22 and Type 23 Frigates, Hydrographic Ships. There are also 5,000 ship movements annually. Also home to Flag Officer Sea Training and RN Hydrographic School.

HM Naval Base, Clyde

Home base to UK’s nuclear deterrent ballistic missile submarines (SSBN’s). Also base to SSNs and Minewarfare vessels. HMS Caledonia at Rosyth provides support for naval personnel standing by ships and submarines in refit at HM Naval Base, Clyde.

RN Air Station, Yeovilton

Home Base to RN, naval helicopter squadron and other fixed-wing aircraft. Yeovilton operates over 100 aircraft of different types. Nearly 4,000 uniformed and civilian personnel work at RNAS Yeovilton. Also training of aircrew and engineers of resident aircraft types. RN Fighter Controller School trains ground and airborne AEW controllers.

RN Air Station, Culdrose

RNAS Culdrose supports the Anti-Submarine Warfare and Airborne Early Warning helicopter squadrons of the Royal Navy. Eight Naval Air Squadrons are based at RNAS Culdrose, both frontline and training squadrons. Responsible for the operational and advance flying training of helicopter pilots, observers and aircrewmen.

HMS Caledonia

As a Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) facility HMS Caledonia’s role is to provide support services to both the Royal Navy and MOD (Ministry of Defence) in the east of Scotland. As stated previously HMS Caledonia supports the requirements of personnel operating on RN vessels from HM Naval Base Clyde.

Principle Warships of the Royal Navy

Strategic Deterrent

The United Kingdom’s Strategic Deterrent is undertaken by the Royal Navy and submarine launched missiles (SLBM) have been installed on Royal Navy submarines since the 1960s. This is currently undertaken by four boats of the class called Vanguard armed with Trident Nuclear missiles.

These are: -

  • HMS Vanguard,
  • HMS Victorious,
  • HMS Vigilant,
  • HMS Vengeance.

Fleet Submarines

The Royal Navy operates a total of 10 Nuclear Powered Attack Submarines (SSNs) in two classes – the Swiftsure and Trafalgar classes. Both classes are capable of continuous patrols at high underwater speed, independent of base support and can circumnavigate the globe without sufacing. These are: -

Swiftsure Class

  • HMS Sovereign
  • HMS Superb
  • HMS Sceptr

Trafalgar Class

  • HMS Trafalgar
  • HMS Turbulent
  • HMS Tireless
  • HMS Tireless
  • HMS Torbay
  • HMS Trenchant
  • HMS Talent
  • HMS Triumph

Aircraft Carriers

Invincible Class

The primary task of this class of ship is to act as the command ship for a small task force and provide organic air power against limited opposition. Since entering service in the 1970s the ships of this class have proved vital in projecting UK interests overseas from the Falklands conflict of 1982 through to the amphibious assault on Iraq in the spring of 2003. Lessons have been learned over the years and the vital importance of ‘eye in the sky’ has been recognised by developing Sea King helicopters for Airborne Surveillance and Control. The problem with the ships is, of course, their small size for air operations at sea. This is augmented by increase of the air assets on board. It is proposed to use R.A.F. Apache Longbow attack helicopters for which the carriers will be configured for.

Armament: -

Aircraft – A typical embarked air group could consist of 6 x Harrier GR9/9As, 6 x Merlin (Anti Submarine), 3 x Sea King ASaC (Airborne Surveillance & Control).

As stated before this can be increased if needed.

There is also a complement of Royal Marines on board approx 600.

These are: -

  • HMS Invincible
  • HMS Illustrious
  • HMS Ark Royal

Helicopter Carrier

Ocean (LPH)

HMS Ocean, an (LPH) Landing Platform Helicopter was build on the Clyde. The ship is capable of carrying an air group of 12 x Sea King troop lift helicopters, 6 x Lynx attack helicopters and 4 x Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP). The vessel’s secondary role include afloat training, with a limited anti submarine warfare capability and the possibility of being used as afloat base for anti-terrorist operations.

Key specifications are as follows: - Complement: 285, 206 Air Group, plus up to 830 marines (Marine Commando Group) Military lift: 4 LCVP Mk5 (on davits); 2 Griffon hovercraft; 40 Vehicles Aircraft Helicopters: 12 x Sea King Mk4/Merlin plus 6 Lynx (or navalised variants of WAH-64 Apache)

Assault Ships

Albion Class (LPD)

There are two helicopter landing spots and the configuration includes a well dock and stern gate together with side ramp access. Substantial command and control facilities are included within a large combined Operations Room. The UK is developing a useful amphibious capability with a new Assault ships and other new Landing Ships coming along. Both vessels are capable of carrying 305 troops, with an overload of a further 405 for short periods. There is a vehicle deck capacity for up to 6 x main battle tanks or up to 30 x armoured all-terrain vehicles. In addition, there is a floodable well dock, with the capacity to take either four utility landing craft (each capable of carrying a main battle tank or a hovercraft landing craft. There are 4 x smaller landing craft on davits, each capable of carrying 35 troops. Complement: - 325. Military lift: 305 x troops; 67 x support vehicles; 4 x LCU Mk 10 or 2 x LCAC (dock); 4 x LCVP Mk 5 (davits).

These are: -

  • HMS Albion
  • HMS Bulwark


Type 42 Class

The ships of this class are armed with ageing Sea Dart medium range air defence missile system, which also has a limited anti-ship capability. In addition they have a useful gun armament. They have been useful work horses of the fleet for many years and are equipped with the latest communication and sensor equipments.

These are: -

Batch 2

  • HMS Exeter
  • HMS Southampton
  • HMS Nottingham
  • HMS Liverpool

Batch 3

  • HMS Manchester
  • HMS Gloucester
  • HMS Edinburgh
  • HMS York


Type 23 (Duke Class)

There were some early problems, e.g. the Command System was not operational as quickly as had been planned, but these have now been overcome and the R.N. has made steady improvements to weapons and sensors in the ships over the years since first introduction. These ships are powered by a CODLAG system (Combined diesel-electric and gas turbine propulsion) and the diesel-electric is used for minimum underwater noise during ASW operations.

Armament: -

Missiles: Surface to Surface (SSM). 8 x Harpoon. Surface to Air (SAM). Sea Wolf Guns: 1 x 4.5 in. 2 x 30mm twins. Helicopters: Merlin (Missile and Torpedo armed)

These are: -

  • HMS Argyll
  • HMS Lancaster
  • HMS Monmouth
  • HMS Iron Duke
  • HMS Westminster
  • HMS Northumberland
  • HMS Montrose
  • HMS Richmond
  • HMS Somerset
  • HMS Grafton
  • HMS Sutherland
  • HMS Kent
  • HMS Portland
  • HMS St Albans

Type 22 (Broadsword) Class

There remaining four ships of this class have a useful armament and sensor fit and, by the standards of the Navies, at 20 years of age are still quite youthful. The above water armaments reflect the lessons of the Falklands conflict – plenty of guns and missiles.

Armament: -

Missiles: Surface to Surface (SSM). 8 x Harpoon. Surface to Air (SAM). Sea Wolf. Guns: 1 x 4.5 in; 1 x Goalkeeper 30mm Close in Weapon System; 2 x 20mm twins. Helicopter: 2 x Merlin; or 1 Westland Sea King HAS 5 (Missile and Torpedo armed)

These are: -

  • HMS Cornwall
  • HMS Cumberland
  • HMS Campbeltown
  • HMS Chatha

Mine Warfare Vessels

Hunt Class (Minesweepers/Minehunters – Coastal)

The Royal Navy has a small but highly efficient mine warfare and the hunts were regarded as very costly when first entering service. However they have proved their value repeatedly and modernisation proceeds. When deployed operationally Hunt Class vessels are fitted with additional weapon systems and communications. They are also used for fishery duties. Armament: - 1 x 30 mm. For operational deployments also fitted with 2 x 20 mm and 2 x 7.62 mm MGs.

These are: -

  • HMS Ledbury
  • HMS Cattistock
  • HMS Brocklesby
  • HMS Middleton
  • HMS Chiddingfold
  • HMS Hurworth
  • HMS Atherstone
  • HMS Quorn

Sandown Class (Minehunters)

HMS Sandown, the first of the new Single-Role Minehunter class, entered service in 1998 (since decommissioned), and HMS Blythe, the latest, entered service in January 2001. Of Glass and Reinforced Plastic (GRP) construction, they are capable of operating in deep and exposed waters e.g. the approaches to the Clyde where ballistic missile armed submarines are based. Sandown Class vessels are equipped with a mine-hunting sonar and mine-disposal equipment, making them capable of dealing with mines at depths of up to 200m.

Armament: 1 x 30 mm

These are: -

  • HMS Walney
  • HMS Penzance
  • HMS Pembroke
  • HMS Grimsby
  • HMS Bangor
  • HMS Ramsey
  • HMS Blythe
  • HMS Shoreham

Antarctic Patrol Ship


HMS Endurance (previously) MV Polar Circle entered service with the Royal Navy in 1991 and supports British interest in the South Atlantic and Antarctic waters. The ship works alongside members of the British Antarctic Survey Team, carrying hydrographic surveying, meteorological work and research programmes. The hull is painted red for easy recognition in ice and the vessel has importance as a political presence in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Helicopters: 2 Westland Lynx HAS 3 ( Possibly replaced by Merlins) There are 14 Royal Marines on board.

Survey Ships


This ship entered service in 1997. She is equipped with integrated navigation suite for surveying operations, together with a Sonar Array Sounding System (SASS) and data processing equipment. She also has gravimeters, a towed proton magnetometer and the Sonar 2090 ocean environment sensor. The ship is planned to remain at sea for 300 days per year with a crew of 42, 20 personnel being rotated from shore to allow leave and recreation. Helicopters: Platform for 1 light helicopter

Echo Class

These ships will work with the fleet worldwide, supporting mine warfare and amphibious tasks besides carrying out specialist hydrographic activities. As with Scott the ships are planned to work over 300 days per year at sea.

These are: -

  • HMS Echo
  • HMS Enterprise


Commissioned in 1986 HMS Roebuck is designed for hydorgraphic surveys to modern commercial standards and is fitted with Differential Global Positioning Systems and integrated digital navigation and survey system. The ship also carries a survey motor boat which is fitted with similar sonar suites to the mother ship. Warfare capability has recently been enhanced by the fit of additional upper deck weapons. Armament: 1 x GAMBO 20 mm canon; 2 x M323 Mk44 7.62 mm Miniguns and 4 x 7.62 mm General Purpose Machine Guns.


Commissioned in 1983 is the smallest commissioned vessel in the Royal Navy and has been designed to the contact inshore surveys around the coast of the United Kingdom.

Patrol Vessels

Patrol Vessels are used for fishery protection and patrolling Britain’s offshore gas and oilfield installations. In addition these useful ships can be used further afield e.g. Castle Class vessels have been used in the Falklands patrol role.

Castle Class

These ships started as a private venture and ordered in August 1980. The design includes an ability to lay mines. Inmarat commercial communications terminals are fitted. Two Avon Sea Rider high-speed craft are embarked. Armament: 1 x 30 mm Helicopters: Platform for operating Sea King or Merlins

These are: -

  • HMS Dumbarton Castle

River Class

Each vessel has a large working cargo deck that allows the vessel to be equipped for a specific role such as disaster relief, anti-pollution, fire-fighting, rescue work or interception of other vessels. Armament: 1 x 20 mm

These are: -

  • HMS Tyne
  • HMS Severn
  • HMS Mersey
  • HMS Clyde

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service (RFA) is a civilian manned fleet, owned by the Ministry of Defence. Its main task is to replenish the warships of the Royal Navy at sea with fuel, food, stores and ammunition. Thus it fills a vital role that is becoming increasingly important as the current UK government has worldwide ambitions which demand the services of the Royal Navy. Other RFA tasks include amphibious support and sea transport for the Army. The RFA boast a significant number of ships, especially in comparison with the warships it supports. The largest ship in the present Royal Navy in HMS Ocean. In the RFA there are 10 vessels that are larger.


Wave Class (Large Fleet Tankers)

The ships have a one spot flight deck with full hanger facilities for a Merlin helicopter. Helicopters: 1 x Merlin Guns: 2 x Phalanx Close-in Weapons System, 2 x BMARC 30 mm

These are: -

  • RFA Wave Knight
  • RFA Wave Ruler

Appleleaf Class (Support Tankers)

Support Tankers have the dual role of both replenishing warships and fleet tankers at sea and undertaking the bulk movement of fuels between naval supply depots. Guns: 2 x 20 mm Oerlikon. 4 x 7.62 mm MGs

These are: -

  • RFA Brambleleaf
  • RFA Orangeleaf
  • RFA Bayleaf
  • RFA Oakleaf

Rover Class (Small Fleet Tankers)

These small tankers have proved most valuable over many years in supplying HM ships at sea with fuel, fresh water, limited dry cargo and refrigerated stores in all parts of the world. There are no hanger but a helicopter platform is served by a stores lift, to enable stores to be transferred at sea. Guns: 2 x 20 mm Oerlikon. 4 x 7.62 mm MGs

These are: -

  • RFA Grey Rover
  • RFA Gold Rover
  • RFA Black Rover

Fleet Replenishment Ships

Fort Victoria Class (Fleet Replenishment Ships)

These ships provide fuel and stores support to the Fleet at sea. There are repair facilities for Merlin helicopters. Helicopters: 5 x Sea King or Merlin helicopters Guns: 2 x 30 mm. 2 x Phalanx Close in Weapon Systems

These are: -

  • RFA Fort Victoria
  • RFA Fort George

Fort Grange Class (Fleet Replenishment Ships)

Usually a single helicopter is embarked and ASW armaments for helicopters are carried on board. Helicopters: Up to 4 x Sea Kings Guns: 2 x 20 mm

These are: -

  • RFA Fort Rosalie
  • RFA Fort Austin

Landing Ships

Sir Bedivere Class (Landing Ship Logistics)

Although this class is being replaced by the Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary) vessels Sir Bedivere is programmed to remain in service until 2011.

Military Lift: 340 troops (534 hard lying); 17 or 18 (SLEP) MBTs; 34 mixed vehicles; 120 tons POL; 30 tons of ammunition. Increased capacity for 20 helicopters (11 tank deck and 9 vehicle deck) after SLEP. Guns: 2 or 4 x 20 mm. 4 x 7.62 mm MGs. Helicopters: Platforms to operate Gazelle, Lynx, Chinook (SLEP) or Sea King

These are: -

  • RFA Sir Bedivere

Bay Class – Landing Ship Dock (Auxiliary)

These ships will displace over double the figure of the class they are replacing. The design is based on the Dutch LDP Rotterdam. They are designed to transport troops, vehicles, ammunition and stores as follow-up to an amphibious assault. Offload is carried out by a flight deck capable of operating heavy helicopters, an amphibious dock capable of operating one LCU and mexesflotes which can be hung on the ships’ sides. There is no beaching capability. Military Lift: Space for vehicles equating to 36 Challenger MBTs or 150 light trucks plus 200 tons of ammunition. Helicopters: Platform capable of operating Chinook Armament: 1 x 30 mm cannon; CIWS Phalanx

These are: -

  • RFA Largs Bay
  • RFA Lyme Bay
  • RFA Mounts Bay,
  • RFA Cardigan Bay

Miscellaneous RFA Vessel

Argus – Aviation Training Ship

Argus was procured for helicopter training role. This former Ro-Ro container ship was converted for her new task by Harland and Wolf. Argus can replenish other ships underway. Argus has a subsidiary role as a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship. Guns: 4 x 30 mm. 4 x 7.62 mm MGs.

Fixed-wing aircraft: Provision to transport 12 x BAe Harriers

Diligence – Forward Repair Ship

This ship was originally the Stena Inspector, designed as a Multipurpose Support Vessel for North Sea oil operations. She was chartered on the 25th may 1982 for use as a fleet repair ship during the Falklands War and purchased from Stena UK Line in October 1983. She was then converted in 1984 for use as Forward Repair Ship in the South Atlantic (Falkland Islands)

Guns: 4 x 20 mm. 4 x 7.62 mm MGs

Fleet Air Arm

The Fleet Air Arm numbers just over 6000 personnel and operates about 200 aircraft. Operating fixed wing Harrier aircraft and Merlin, Sea King and Lynx helicopters from ships at sea and two main Naval Air Stations at Yeovilton and Culdrose, the Fleet Air Arm provides the Royal Navy with aviation support required to conduct marine operations.

Current Naval Aircraft Inventory (estimates)

Harrier Force

  • For Air Defence / Attack the Royal Navy have 36 type GR9/9A Harrier 2

Naval Helicopters

  • Anti Submarine
8 Merlin HM Mk 1
814 Sqn Culdrose

  • Anti Submarine
9 Merlin HM Mk 1
820 Sqn Culdrose

  • Anti Submarine
9 Merlin HM Mk 1
829 Sqn Culdrose

  • Anti Submarine (IFTU)
6 Merlin HM Mk 1
700 Sqn Culdrose

  • Anti Submarine /

Anti Ship

36 Lynx HAS 3, HMA 8
815 Sqn (see note 1) Yeovilton
  • Anti Submarine /


12 Lynx HAS 3, HMA 8(OCU)
702 Sqn Yeovilton

Note 1 : The total for 815 Squadron includes 6 aircraft with squadron HQ. The remaining aircraft are mostly dispersed in flights of one or two aircraft amongst the ships in the fleet.

  • Airborne Early Warning
8 Sea King AEW 2
849 Sqn Culdrose

  • Commando Assault
10 Sea King HC 4
845 Sqn Yeovilton

  • Commando Assault
10 Sea King HC 4
845 Sqn Yeovilton

  • Commando Assault
9 Sea King HC 4
845 Sqn Yeovilton

  • Ground Attack
6 Lynx AH7
847 Sqn Yeovilton

Aircrew Training

  • ASW Training
6 Merlin HM Mk1
824 Sqn Culdrose
  • OEU
4 Merlin HM Mk 1
700mSqn Culdrose

  • Observer Training
9 Jetstream T2/T3
750 Sqn Culdrose

  • Search & Rescue Training
5 Sea King HAS Mk 5
771 Sqn Culdrose

  • Air Defence Training


37 Mirach 100/5
792 Sqn Culdrose

  • Elementry Flying School
8 Firefly
703 Sqn Barkstone Heath

  • Fleet Training & Support
12 Hawk

Royal Marines

The Royal Marines (RM) are an elite Corps and specialist in Amphibious Warfare – and wherever there is action, the Royal Marines are likely to be involved.

  • Headquarters Royal Marines are based at (Portsmouth)

  • HQ 3 Commando Brigade Plymouth are based at (Stonehouse)

  • 3 Commando Bde HQ & Signal Squadron are based at (Stonehouse)

  • 3 Commando Bde Air Sqn are based at (RNAS Yeovilton)

  • 40 Commando are based at (Taunton)

  • 42 Commando are based at (Bickleigh)

  • 45 Commando are based at (Arbroath)

  • Commando Logistic Regiment (Barnstaple)

  • 539 Assault Sqn Plymouth are based at (Barnstaple)

  • Fleet Protection Group are based at (Clyde)

  • Commando Training Centre are based at (Lympstone)

  • Royal Marines Stonehouse are based at (Plymouth)

  • Royal Marine Poole are based at (Poole)

  • Assault Training & Trials Unit are based at (Bideford)

  • 1 Assault Group are based at (Poole)

Special Boat Service (SBS)

This organisation is the Naval equivalent of the Army’s SAS (Special Air Service). The SBS specialises in mounting clandestine operations against targets at sea, in rivers or harbours and against occupied coastlines.

Royal Air Force (RAF)

Strike Command

From its headquarters at RAF High Wycombe, Strike Command (STC) currently controls all of the United Kingdom’s front line aircraft worldwide. Its assets include fighters, strike/attack, transport and maritime aircraft and helicopters. As the commander of Strike Command, the AOCinC is responsible for the day to day national peacetime operations of the Command. In war, Strike Command is an essential part of NATO organisation and as such is a component of SACEUR European Theatre air assets.

The current structure of the RAF is: -

HQ Strike Command

(Commander – Air Chief Marshal)

  • High Wycombe

Air Warfare Centre

  • No. 1 Group
  • No. 2 Group
  • Cyprus
  • Gibraltar
  • Ascension Is
  • Falkland Islands

Air Warfare Centre (AWC)

The Air Warfare Centre is responsible for formulating tactical doctrine and conducting operational trials. The AWC also maintains liaison with MOD research establishments and industry, and close contact with RAF operational commands as well as with the Royal Navy, Army and Allied air forces. The AWC HQ is collocated with the Defence Electronic Warfare Centre at RAF Waddington. The AWC is administered by HQ Strike Command, but is responsible jointly to the Assistant Chief of Air Staff, and to the Commander-in-Chief for the conduct of trials, and development of tactics for all Royal Air Force operational aircraft. Branches and locations of the AWC are as follows: -

  • HQ - Waddington
  • Operational Doctrine (OD&T) - Cranwell & High Wycombe
  • Tactics (TD&T) - Waddington
  • Electronic Warfare (EWOS) - Waddington
  • Operational Analysis (OA) - High Wycombe, Waddington and Cranwell
  • Operational Testing & Evaluation (OT&E) - Boscombe Down, Coningsby, Odiham & Ash

No. 1 Group

No.1 Group is an Air Combat Group containing all fast jet assets including the Joint Force Harrier (JFH), formerly part of No. 3 Group, and the Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) HQ, which is currently a centrally provided asset. The JFAC HQ provides the deployable Air Command and Control required to support expeditionary warfare and links in to the other Joint Force Component HQs under PJHQ direction.

No. 1 Group Listings are: -

  • 1 Sqn
9 x Harrier GR9/9A 
1 x Harrier T 12
RAF Cottesmore (JFH)
  • II (AC) Sqn
12 x Tornado GR4A
RAF Marham (Recce)

  • 3 Sqn
12 x Typhoon
RAF Cottesmore
  • 4 Sqn
9 x Harrier GR9/9A
1 x Harrier T12
RAF Cottesmore (JFH)
  • 6 Sqn
11 x Jaguar GR3/3A
1 x Jaguar T4
RAF Conningsby (Disbanded in 2007)
Squadron was reformed in 2010 with FGR4 Typhoons
  • 9 Sqn
12 x Tornado GR4
RAF Marham
  • 12 Sqn
12 x Tornado GR4
RAF Lossiemouth
  • 13 Sqn
12 x Tornado GR4A
RAF Marham (Recce)
  • 14 Sqn
12 x Tornado GR4
RAF Lossiemouth
  • 15 (R) Sqn
26 x Tornado GR4
RAF Lossiemouth
  • 17 (R) Sqn
6e x Typhoon RAF
RAF Conningsby (Typhoon - Operational Evaluation Unit) OEU
  • 20 (R) Sqn
9 x Harrier GR9/9A
4 x Harrier T12
RAF Wittering
  • 25 Sqn
16 x Tornado F3
RAF Leeming
  • 29 Sqn
8e x Typhoon
RAF Conningsby (Typhoon – Operational Conversion Unit) OCU
  • 31 Sqn
12 x Tornado GR4
RAF Marham
  • 39 Sqn

Was allocated with: -

4 x Canberra PR9
1 x Canberra T4
RAF Marham (1 Photo Reconnaissance Unit) PRU
Was disbanded in 2007

Same year reformed to operate: -

5 x MQ-9 Reaper
Creech Air Force Base, Nevada
They will be consisting of intelligence specialists, Information communications Technicians, signallers and meteorologists.
It is hoped that by 2011 10 x Reapers will be in operation with this squadron
In 2012 another squadron XIII will be formed to operate another 10 x Reapers.
Both squadrons will also be operating from RAF Waddington
  • 43 Sqn
16 x Tornado F3
RAF Leuchars
  • 56 (R) Sqn
20 x Tornado F3
RAF Leuchers
  • 100 Sqn
16 x Hawk T1/T1A
RAF Leeming
  • 111 Sqn

16 x Tornado F3 RAF Leuchers

  • 617 Sqn (This is the famous Dambuster Squadron)
12 x Tornado GR4
RAF Lossiemouth

No. 2 Group

No. 2 Group is the Air Combat Support Group containing all Air Transport/Air to Air Refuelling assets, the Force Protection assets, and the Air Combat Service Support Units (ACSSU) which include deployable supporting elements covering engineering, armament, communications, supply, movements, medical, administrative and catering.

2 Group Squadron Listings: -

  • 24 Sqn
11 x Hercules C3, C4/C5
RAF Lyneham
  • 30 Sqn
11 x Hercules C3, C4/C5
RAF Lyneham
  • 47 Sqn
11 x Hercules C3, C4/C5
RAF Lyneham
  • 99 Sqn
6 x C-17
RAF Brize Norton
  • 101 Sqn
7 x VC10 K3/K4
10 x VC10 C1K
RAF Brize Norton
  • 216 Sqn
8 x Tristar K1/KC1/C2/C2A
RAF Brize Norton
  • 70 Sqn
11 x Hercules C1/C3,C4/C5
RAF Lyneham
  • 32 (The Royal) Sqn
5 x BAe 125 CC3
2 x BAe 146 CC2
3 x Augusta A 109

2 Group also supports the Defence CBRN School at Winterbourne Gunner, the RAF Regiment and various UK Air Combat Service and Support Units.

With the disbanding of No.3 Group, No. 2 Group to over responsibility of the Battle Management Group containing Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), Air Surveillance and Command System (ASACS), Maritime and SAR assets.

These assets include: -

  • 5 Sqn
5 x Sentinel R1 (ASTOR)
RAF Waddington
  • 8 Sqn
4 x Sentry AEW1
RAF Waddington
  • 22 Sqn
8 x Sea King HAR3/3A
RMB (Royal Marines Base) Chivenor (Sqn HQ)*
  • 23 Sqn
3 x Sentry AEW
RAF Waddington
  • 42 (R) Sqn
3 x Nimrod MR2
RAF Kinloss (Nimrod OCU)
  • 51 Sqn
3 x Nimrod R1
RAF Waddington
  • 120 Sqn
8 x Nimrod MR2
RAF Kinloss
  • 201 Sqn
7 x Nimrod MR2
RAF Kinloss
  • 202 Sqn
8 x Sea King HAR3/3A
RAF Boulmer (Sqn HQ)*
  • 203 (R) Sqn
3 x Sea King HAR3/3A
RAF St Mawgan
4 x Griffin HT1
RAF Valley

Note * Headquartered at RMB Chivenor, 22 Sqn maintains three detachments at Chivenor (‘A’ Flight), Wattisham (‘B’ Flight) and Valley (‘C’ Flight). 202 Sqn has detachments at Boulmer (‘A’ Flight and Headquarters), Lossiemouth (‘D’ Flight) and Leconfield (‘E’ Flight)

No. 2 Group is also responsible for: -

RAF Fylingdales - which is a Radar Base and is part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). Its primary purpose is to give British and US governments warning of an impending ballistic missile attack (part of the 4 minute warning during the Cold War). A secondary role is the detection and tracking of orbiting objects.

RAF Neatishead – is a Royal Air Force radar station (Remote Radar Head, RRH). It controls the remote site of RAF Trimingham with it’s Lockheed TPS 77 Radar. Its also controls the site of RAF Weybourne with its two AEGIS aerials. Also the majority of ASACS (Air Surveillance And Control System).

Joint Helicopter Command (JHC)

The UK armed forces’ Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) became operational on the 1st April 2000.

  • Royal Air Force
34 x Chinooks HC2/2a
33 x Puma HC1
22 x Merlin HC3
4 x Griffin HAR2
2 x Sea King HAR3
  • Royal Navy
33 x Sea King HC4
6 x Lynx Mk7
8 x Gazelle Mk1
  • Army
110 x Lynx
105 x Gazelle
67 x Apache Mk1
6 x Bell 212
6 x Islanders

The RAF contribution to the JHC is as follows: -

RAF JHC Squadrons

  • 7 Sqn
5 x Chinook HC2
1 x Gazelle
RAF Odiham
  • 18 Sqn
18 x Chinook HC2
RAF Odiham
  • 27 Sqn
10 x Chinook HC2
RAF Odiham
  • 28 Sqn
22 x Merlin HC3
RAF Benson
  • 33 Sqn
15 x Puma HC1
RAF Benson
  • 78 Sqn
1 x Chinook HC2
2 x Sea King HAR2
RAF Mount Pleasant (Falklands)
  • 84 Sqn
4 x Griffin HAR2
RAF Akrotiri
  • 230 Sqn
18 x Puma HC1
RAF Aldergrove

Overseas Bases

Strike command has responsibility for all RAF bases overseas.

  • RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus

The RAF use the airfield at Akrotiri as a staging post for transport aircraft, and as a temporary operating base for aircraft carrying out Armament Practice Camps. Akrotiri is the permanent base of 84 Squadron who perform Search and Rescue as well as a support role for the UN peacekeeping forces on the island. In addition, a detachment of the RAF Regiment is stationed at Akrotiri to assist with defence.

  • RAF Ascension Island

Situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and over 700 miles from its nearest neighbour, Ascension Island was used extensively as a staging base during the Falklands War. This is still the major role for the station, which it performs for both the RAF and the USAF.

  • RAFU Goose Bay, Canada

A team of RAF personnel is stationed at Goose Bay in Labrador to support RAF fast jet aircraft carrying out low level training over Labrador. The fast jets are usually accompanied by VC-10s, Tristars or Hercules aircraft, providing AAR or transport support.

  • RAF Gibraltar

Although aircraft are no longer stationed at RAF Gibralter, Hercules and Nimrod and Tornado aircraft make regular visits.

  • RAF Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands

Mount Pleasant was opened in 1984 to establish and transport presence in the Islands following the Falklands War. Currently based at Mount Pleasant are No 1435 Flight with 4 x Tornado F3s, No 1312 Flight, with 1 x VC10 tanker and 1 x Hercules C1, as well as No 78 Squadron with 1 x Chinook and 2 x Griffin. Ground units include Signals Units and a Rapier surface to air missile detachment.

  • Mobile Air Movement Squadron (MAMS)

During operations and exercises, aircraft often visit overseas airfields where no regular RAF ground handling organisations exists. For this purpose, Strike Command has a Mobile Air Movement Squadron (MAMS) at RAF Lyneham, which provides teams who are expert in all aspects of loading and unloading aircraft.

The United Kingdom has other bases that can be used when required for example Diego Garcia which is also used by the United States. The United Kingdom still has overseas possessions which could be used if required for military operations these can be listed if required.