Unit History: RAF Boulmer
RAF Boulmer (IATA: N/A, ICAO: EGQM) is a Royal Air Force station near Alnwick in Northumberland.
In 1940 a dummy airfield was set up near the village of Boulmer in order to divert German attacks from nearby RAF bases. In 1943 RAF pilots began using the dummy airfield as a relief landing ground. Later that year the airfield became operational as a training field.
In 1953 present day RAF Boulmer was opened as an Air Defence Control Centre, protecting the airspace of the United Kingdom. High powered radars were installed, positioned to detect Soviet bombers attacking from the North Sea. In 1978 A flight of 202 Squadron moved their search and rescue helicopters to Boulmer. Initially they flew Westland Whirlwinds and later Westland Sea Kings. In 1990 the RAF School of Fighter Control was moved to RAF Boulmer. In 1994 Number 1 Air Control Centre (1ACC) reformed at RAF Boulmer, providing the Royal Air Force with a highly-capable, rapidly-deployable fielded air command and control capability. Later equipped with Lockheed Martin Type 101 Air Defence Radars, 1ACC played a key role in Operation TELIC following the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.
In 2004 RAF Boulmer’s newly-refurbished NATO Control Reporting Centre (CRC) took over all air defence functions previously administered by the CRCs at RAF Buchan and RAF Neatishead. As the sole CRC in the UK, Boulmer has responsibility for 24-hour surveillance of the UK’s airspace, as well as liaison with NATO allies around Europe, in order to maintain an effective air defence cover for NATO’s Northern Air Defence Region.
In late July 2004 it was announced that RAF Boulmer would close by 2012, with the majority of its functions transferring to RAF Scampton. The first action taken in response to this announcement was for 1ACC to move to RAF Kirton in Lindsey, a former Fighter Command base in Lincolnshire. This would bring the Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS) closer together (the new CRC at RAF Scampton and the E3 Sentry force at RAF Waddington both also belonging to the ASACS Force). 1ACC’s move to Kirton was completed in early 2005. Later that same year, due to perceived difficulties with funding for Scampton, a review was announced into the decision to close Boulmer.
In January 2008 it was announced that RAF Boulmer would remain open beyond 2012.
The base is affiliated to HMS Northumberland.
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