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Update: RAF Mildenhall to close as Pentagon reveals plans to move assets to Germany

PUBLISHED: 16:39 08 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:41 09 January 2015

Airmen at RAF Mildenhall

Airmen at RAF Mildenhall

Archant

RAF Mildenhall US Air Force Base is set to close as part of a sweeping reorganisation, according to reports.

The US military news outlet, Stars and Stripes, reports that the Suffolk base, home to the USAF special operations forces, refueling tankers and 3,200 military personnel, will be moved to other locations such as Germany.

• County council leader says RAF Mildenhall closure a “severe blow” to region’s economy

• RAF Mildenhall closure: US Defense boss says it can do the same job for less

A USAF KC-135 tanker from RAF Mildenhall makes an approach into RAF Lakenheath. Photo: Simon Parker A USAF KC-135 tanker from RAF Mildenhall makes an approach into RAF Lakenheath. Photo: Simon Parker

Meanwhile, two squadrons of F-35s will now be relocated to RAF Lakenheath by 2020.

The move will see RAF Mildenhall’s 352nd Special Operations Wing move to Germany.

A spokesman for USAF said it would keep people in the local area informed, but that it could not comment until the review process - known as the European Infrastructure Consolidation (EIC) - was completed.

RAF Mildenhall from above. PICTURE: ANDY ABBOTT RAF Mildenhall from above. PICTURE: ANDY ABBOTT

“The European Infrastructure Consolidation process is still ongoing, with no final information available for release.

“The Secretary has approved recommendations he intends to move forward with, and the department is now coordinating efforts to finalize an execution strategy.

“This infrastructure consolidation will not affect our operational capabilities. The United States remains fully committed to European security and continued cooperation with our European Allies and partners in meeting our shared global interests.

“Because the process is still ongoing, it is inappropriate to speculate as to the final outcomes of the EIC,” he said.

What’s at RAF Mildenhall?

RAF Mildenhall is home to the USAF 100th Air Refueling Wing. It conducts air refueling and combat support operations throughout Europe and Africa.

It is formed of:

•100th Operations Group which provides air refueling to Air Combat Command (ACC), Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Mobility Command (AMC), United States European Command (EUCOM), United States African Command (AFRICOM), and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies. The group’s two squadrons have 15 KC-135R aircraft

•The 100th Maintenance Group keeps the aircraft mission-ready

•The 100th Mission Support Group consists of five squadrons. The group ensures the capability of the base to deploy, receive, employ and sustain Air Expeditionary Forces. The group also provides support to approximately 16,800 military, civilian, dependent and retirees, as well as law enforcement on the 1,100-acre site

An official announcement is expected this afternoon.

Two other US facilities in the UK - RAF Alconbury and Molesworth, will also close. Most of their missions will move to RAF Croughton.

A number of closures will also take place in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal.

The Pentagon expects to save $500m a year from the consolidations, which have been under review for more than a year.

Will you be affected by the closure? Email reporter Andrew Fitchett on andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk or call 07584 503055.

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