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

16:39 08 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 ParkerA 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 ABBOTTRAF 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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24 comments

  • With the A11 now duelled the answer is a truly regional civil airport to provide employment - what an opportunity with it's central location. This would render Norwich Airfield obsolete leaving it available for development as it's getting surrounded anyway, and causing unacceptable trouble due to noise. However, the stupid council may have other ideas, i.e. solar panel or wind 'farm', or even laying it to waste like Coltishall which has all runways and many facilities in place for aviation............maybe NCC has an aversion to airfields as well as speedway. Marshalls seem to have alread committed large sums of money to Cambridge Airport and with Southend now expenaded this helps to cover East Anglia.

    Report this comment

    308GT4

    Friday, January 9, 2015

  • With the A11 now duelled the answer is a truly regional civil airport to provide employment - what an opportunity with it's central location. This would render Norwich Airfield obsolete leaving it available for development as it's getting surrounded anyway, and causing unacceptable trouble due to noise. However, the stupid council may have other ideas, i.e. solar panel or wind 'farm', or even laying it to waste like Coltishall which has all runways and many facilities in place for aviation............maybe NCC has an aversion to airfields as well as speedway. Marshalls seem to have alread committed large sums of money to Cambridge Airport and with Southend now expenaded this helps to cover East Anglia.

    Report this comment

    308GT4

    Friday, January 9, 2015

  • The US is moving its bases closer to Russia so in the event of an attack it could respond sooner in this quarter vs being in England. England was a good Outpost in the 20th century but it is now not a strategic location for Worldwide defence agaist russia. UK is piggy in the middle in the Russia vs US race. Makes subtle sense to have your bases closest to the enemy.

    Report this comment

    21

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • GoneAway- You can dream of remaining in the EU but the populus want out, we get very little benefit from remaining in the EU vs what others get and the EU is dying. We should not get sucked down as well. The billons going to the EU could be reimbursed into our public services, schools, e.t.c solving the constant cutting in the budget because the truth is we can not afford to remain in the EU. What would have honest British people do, give our last penny to brussels living in eventual widescale poverty or living an acceptable standard of life with the economic security that comes from being an independent nation.

    Report this comment

    21

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • With the A14 improvement plans in place and the A11 now fully dualled, I don't think the idea of a new airport located there is that far fetched an idea.

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Pity Lakenheath is not closing as well. Why does the USA needs bases all over the world, no other country has.

    Report this comment

    john131

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Very sad, many happy memories as a boy attending the annual air show.

    Report this comment

    NigelS

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • I feel sorry for the local nationals that have been working many years for the U.S. Forces and end up losing their job because of this. Let's hope they find jobs elsewhere or can go straight into retirement if they are close to it.

    Report this comment

    Ar ya reet boi?

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Perhaps we could lease the base to the Russians? When the Americans left Bentwaters, they left behind a virtual self contained town with an airport attached. What happened? Between the MoD and the local authorities the base stood empty and unused for years. Apart from a few ex married quarters being used.At no time did there seem to be any move to have a civilian airport. All those wonderful facilities went to waste. Expect the same for Mildenhall. Sorry to see the Americans leave, sorry for the many people who will be thrown out of work. Another part of our history disappears.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Sorry to see the Americans leave our region and the economy will suffer as a result. As mentioned it would make an ideal new airport especially now the A11 has been fully duelled. However, we all know that our beloved government will take the difficult route and not the easy one. That seems to be the way these days.

    Report this comment

    nobbly1

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Excellent news, three priority targets less. Agree with Jack, more space for the civvies.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • So kind of them to remove three prime targets. This will not mean less arms, just less assets and more movements. I agree with Jack, more space for the civvies.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • I'm sure NCC will have already made a business case, sorry made an offer, damn it bought the place already. Wouldn't surprise me if NCC had made The Pentagon an offer they couldn't refuse (or get planning permission for...)

    Report this comment

    A M

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Solves at a stroke the need for more civilian runway capacity in the south east. Jack (retired pilot)

    Report this comment

    JackH-1938

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • More likely to pave the way for a relocation of Marshalls from Cambridge. This move has been on the cards for a few years, just waiting for the appropriate location nearby to become available.

    Report this comment

    Patrick

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • No one gave two hoots when RAF Colitishall Closed, in fact many were well pleased.

    Report this comment

    Twig Stevens

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Off to an early start with the trolling dayGoneAway

    Report this comment

    theanchovy

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • That'll be the 'special relationship' at work. Expect lots more of the same if the UK reverts to being a third-class traveller by leaving the EU.

    Report this comment

    GoneAway

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • What a massive blow to the local economy. Shocked to hear this on the news.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • would be a good idea as a regional airport but probably too close to Stansted I think if it was closer to Norwich it could work

    Report this comment

    david106

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • is this the end of our special reationship

    Report this comment

    mossey

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • They could turn it into a civil airport and save all the problems going to all the London airports and keep people employed in Suffolk. There would be no need to expand any of the southern airports then.

    Report this comment

    golfo

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Not good news for the local economy but makes sense as the threat from Russia is coming into play

    Report this comment

    david106

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

  • Putin will have nothing to worry about by this reorganisation but Suffolk will. The loss to the economy will be enormous. Hopefully, the MOD may be able to use Mildenhall as compared to an awful lot of UK military bases its facilities are superb.

    Report this comment

    Bad Form

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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