Air Force Bases

Royal Air Force Station Fairford, England

Location: Located about 75 miles west-northwest of London, 13 miles north of Swindon, and 1 1/4 miles south of Fairford, England.

Origin of current name: Named after a village in England.

Date current name was assigned to base: December 18, 1955

Previous Names: RAF Stn Fairford, 1944; Fairford RAF Stn, 27 Jun 1950.
Established as RAF base 1944; established as USAFE (later, SAC) base 7 Jul 1950; returned to United Kingdom, 26 Jun 1964; established again as USAFE installation, 1 Jun 1979.

Date Established: July 7, 1950

Date Occupied: July 7, 1950

Construction Began: August 1, 1950

Base Units: 7507th AB Sq, 7 Jul 1950 (rdsgd 7507th AB Gp, 25 May 1951; 3919th AB Gp, 16 Oct 1952; 3919th AB Sq, 15 Oct 1955; 3919th Spt Sq, 1. Jul 1962); 3919th Cmbt Spt Gp, 1 Jan 1959-30 Jun 1964. 7020th AB Gp, 1 Feb 1979.

Changes in Capability: Used by two RAF squadrons and the USAAF Ninth AF as a staging base for D-Day and Arnhem operations in World War II; reduced to caretaker status 1946; runways lengthened to 10,000 feet in preparation for hosting SAC B-47 bomber rotations 1950; supported SAC reflex operations Jan 1958 to Jun 1964; base returned to United Kingdom 26 Jun 1964; between 1969 and 1977 base served as field for testing "Concorde" supersonic airliner; returned to USAF when USAFE activated 7020th AB Gp at Fairford 1 Feb 1979 to prepare for KC-135 tanker operations; USAFE officially designated Fairford a primary installation 1 Jun 1979, with first KC-135s arriving 13 Sep 1979; base also hosted SAC B-52 deployments beginning April 1980.

Changes in Status: Active as RAF base Jan 1944; reduced to caretaker status 1946; under construction by USAFE Aug 1950-1951; operational as USAFE installation 1 Jul 1951; inactivated and returned to United Kingdom 26 Jun 1964; testing field for "Concorde" 1969-1977; activated by USAFE 1 Jun 1979.


RAF Fairford is a fully functioning FOL. At 1,170 acres, and equipped with a 10,000 foot runway and a 10M gallon JP-8 hydrant refueling system, the base provides 60 parking spaces for bombers or other aircraft, and secured hangar space for 3 B-2s. RAF Fairford provides full communications capabilities for visiting units and lodging for up to 900 additional personnel during contingency operations. It also enables U-2 aircraft deployment, Deployed Operations Training for the Royal Air Force and serves as an alternate landing site for NASA's Space Shuttle. RAF Fairford is HQ USAFE's base of choice for deployed operational readiness inspections for units throughout USAFE. Each July, RAF Fairford hosts the world's largest military air show, the Royal International Air Tattoo.