The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the home of the Red Arrows, RAF Scampton, will be closed.

The station was originally due to close in 2014 but in June 2012 the Ministry of Defence confirmed the Red Arrows would remain there until at least the end of the decade. Today, the MoD announced that Scampton would close by 2022 with all units relocated elsewhere.

Who’s based at Scampton? No 1 Air Control Centre, the Mobile Meteorological Unit and of course the Red Arrows.

However, this comes despite the 2010 Strategic Defence & Security Review concluding that keeping the Red Arrows at RAF Scampton was the best way for them to operate, without affecting other operational flying bases. As a consequence of the decision work was undertaken to resurface the runway, ensuring Scampton was retained as an operational flying base.

The Red Arrows, which have been at the base for over 20 years, will be relocated to another airbase.

29 COMMENTS

  1. My money’s on them moving to either Warrington, Lossiemouth. They might even go to Cyprus seeing as that’s where they are based for winter training.

    • Warrington you mean Waddington? I doubt they will move to anywhere with regular air movements where they impede each other, that’s the whole point. Waddo and Lossi full, and getting fuller.

      I also cannot see them being based in Cyprus. Winter training fine but are they then expected to fly across Europe after displays? No.

  2. No surprise. The base is a shell.

    Units :

    Reds.
    1 ACC.
    South CRC.
    MMU.
    Base Support Sqn.

    The CRC might be more tricky with its 24 hour RAP role, comms and data links.

    The Reds do need a spare runway with airspace to match. Leeming, despite 100 Sqn? Linton its said will close and lose the BFT role to Valley, maybe there?

    • Doubt they’ll keep Linton open for the Reds, I’d say Leeming is the best bet. 100 use the T1 as well so maintenance facilities are already there and the only other traffic is NUAS/11AEF with a handful of Tutors, the occasional Tornado for R2P and 100 with their Hawks, so a fairly quiet place compared to other airbases that aren’t getting closed. Though I’ve heard that YUAS/9AEF are moving to Leeming when Linton gets shut, so that could complicate matters. Plus, as Julian1 said, there’s the hangar where R2P takes place that should be avaliable by then, and a load of old Tornado shelters on the far side of the airfield that could be used/replaced with a hangar or two.

  3. I spent a couple of months at Scampton in the summer of 1977, lots of Vulcans there then. Visited the 617 sqdn crew room, loads of memobrilia from WW2 which was really interesting. Sat inside the cockpit of Vulcan which much smaller than I imagined it would be. Also asked the flight crew what they thought about the new Tornado replacing Vulcan, they didn’t think much it. They were supremely confident that the Vulcan could penetrate any Soviet air defence system of that era. Food was great much better than Army cookhouse slop. Also warned never to go near the RAF police dogs (used to protect the nuclear weapon storage facilities) , they would tear you to bits in seconds. Happy days.

  4. Expanding on Mike’s mention on 617 memorabilia, the Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa was the Officers mess in WW2, and an original bouncing bomb is rusting in the car park. Their Dambusters bar is a good and emotional visit. I know, I married there. 🙂

  5. Will any of the savings go toward ordering the Advanced Hawk for the Red Arrows. I understand the testing of the new wing is complete and provides great performance just needs some orders. Seeing as the Red Arrows are supposed be part of the UK export drive then surely equipping them with the latest UK trainer/light attack offering would be a good idea. Sadly I know the answer to my own question and its No.

    • Agree. They should. Didn’t they say legacy mk1s were ok til 2030 something??? Kicked thst can down the road.

      • Problem is the production line will run out of road before then, the can has been kicked off the edge of the cliff. If the red arrows continue they will be flying foreign aircraft. Typhoon is not an option as its too expensive per hour to fly.

  6. ‘Sat inside the cockpit of Vulcan which much smaller than I imagined’ – I felt the same about it when I sat in the one at the Avro museum a few years ago. I didn’t fancy the bomb aimers visual position for launching the weapons, either. I shouldn’t have been surprised, though, as I saw the tight space in the Victor for the pilots in ‘Classic British Aircraft’ a few years ago. No reason why the Vulcan should have been different.

    While we were sat in the Vulcan cockpit my brother’s phone rang – his ring tone is the Russian national anthem, purely because he likes the tune. Very funny moment.

  7. Leeming would be ideal new base for the Reds Hawks are based there with 100sqn and as linton is also closing , their RLG at topcliffe will be ideal for the Reds to operate from during there work up during the winter

  8. Very sad news, but not surprised, the base would need many millions spent on it to bring it up to the standard of most other RAF camps. Maybe Wittering would be a good option, huge runway, and only a handful of grob trainers based there I believe, along with MT sqns. Though that maybe incorrect.

    • 3 separate UAS with Tutor and another two Tutor squadrons from 3 FTS. I had read they want to move more in too likes some sort of super UAS base. 45 ELW and 42 ESW too, with some smaller units.

      Agree long runway at least. Don’t know if the SFA is still in use as a secure area for Trident convoys?

      Stand by for plenty of pile ups on the A1 as people gawp at the Reds flying over in formation!

  9. Leeming makes sense to me. Consolidate theT1s somewhat. Now Tornado RTP is complete more gamer space too. If not, how about st mawgan? Loads of quiet flying area and facilities as the airport is very quiet. The RAF still have a presence. When u look at Scampton on google earth it is basically a WW2 base without update so no surprise. I hope the money is reinvested in other bases and living quarters. It worries me hw we hav so few air bases: leuchars, honnington or wattisham should be brought back to use given size, facilities (HAS) and in the case of leuchars, recent investment

  10. Of course we are trundling ever closer to a crunch time decision about the Hawk T1, with the Reds and 736NAS pretty much the only operators of the type left even with an on paper 2030 OSD some hard decisions are going to made at some point soon.

    With Hawk sales starting to dwindle in the face of newer competition and the new USAF T-X when chosen I can only see BAE Systems persisting with the type for so long. The Saudi order for MK165 was an injection of life support for the Hawk but that is time limited.

    The new Advanced Hawk marketed with HAL has not gained any orders as of yet, there is still a market for this class of trainer considering Aero Vodochody are aggressively marketing a new L39 variant but is it big enough for BAE Systems?

    Personally I think the T1 OSD should be brought forward and a follow on order for Hawk 165 placed to allow the Reds to convert and in the long term a decision needs to be made by BAE Systems about continued presence in that market segment.

  11. Can the UK afford to replace the Red Arrows Hawk T1 with new aircraft given the constraints of defence spending?

    I would suggest not.

  12. I served in the RAF for 23 years this year marks the 100th anniversary the MOD and RAF should hang their heads in shame. They are a bloody disgrace to this once noble fighting force.
    I never thought I would ever think I would say this I am ashamed to have worn the uniform.

    I am a decorated veteran proud to have served my country the greedy bastard developers they too should be shunned we are soon going to loose the airfield at Wellsbourne where we are going to loose another Vulcan it is time to take action to stand up and be counted they dont own Scampton it belongs to the people that have served there and more importantly paid the ultimate sacrifice

  13. 13.3 Million-More fit for purpose???

    “The home of the Red Arrows air display team is to be sold off, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

    RAF Scampton, which was also home to 617 Squadron as they prepared for the Dambusters mission in World War Two, is to close in 2022, with the display team to be moved somewhere “more fit for purpose”.

    Another base, RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire, where fast-jet pilots are taught, and where the Duke of Cambridge underwent training, will be closed in 2020.

    Red Arrows air base to be sold off
    MoD forgot to declare cash for Jordanian Armed forces
    Image copyrightPA
    Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said £13.3m was given to the Jordanian armed force between 2015 and 2017 that had previously not been declared to Parliament.

    The money was given as a grant for equipment and infrastructure – including armoured vehicles, IT, accommodation and buildings.

    The defence secretary said steps had been taken “to ensure than an oversight such as this does not occur again”.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44945340

  14. (Chris H) in another Thread I suggested RAF Mildenhall as the Yanks are leaving and its a superb base for the Reds and other training assets but I see they are now staying until 2024.

    Still I am sure they could find a hangar and crew room for a couple of years for the Reds there until they do go.

  15. Wittering has it’s elementary flying training units yes but Cottesmore is a short flight away which could in theory be used for RAFAT training.
    I wonder if Leeming is a bit far North even though Topcliff could be used day to day. Also won’t ASDOT (?) remove 100sq?
    There was a possibility that AAC would move out of Wattisham a while ago but I dare say the runway is in a poor state. Forget Honnington, too far gone. Slams on the ASP too close to what’s left of the runway.
    In short, we don’t have much left.

  16. The Yorkshire Post is reporting that the RAF base at Leeming could be the new home of the Red Arrows because it already has the Hawk T1 on site.

  17. It’s such a shame Linton on Ouse is closing. That would have been ideal for the Reds to go to. Not much there to disturb the locals. We’ll only have one Yorkshire flying based left at Leeming that would be my choice if they close Scampton. It’s just too busy around Cranwell & Waddington now.

    They’ll probably just send them over to Valley instead. Typical irrational government, spend money on a new runway and sell it on the cheap to one of their cronies.

  18. Just don’t like the idea of another Yorkshire base closing. Valley has all the infrastructure but is a very busy base. The whole point of the Reds being at Scampton was they’re not interfering with anyone else’s airspace. Still think Leeming might be the best place for them.

    • I agree Christoper.

      I thought with all the dedicated low flying and training areas aircraft were deconflicted, Tucano and Basic Flying Training in Yorkshire, Advanced on Hawk at Valley and Wales, LFA’s in Scotland, Wales, Cumbria, and others for Fast Jets, Shropshire LFA for Helicopter ops, Salisbury plain for the AAC, and so on.

      So moving basic training and the Reds to Valley rather mucks that system up. Unless I am misunderstanding?

      Moving them to Leeming secures the runway. There are other units at Leeming like 90 SU but if 100 Squadron move that’s it for regular aviation movements, and another closure half way there.

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