Unit History: RAF Northwood

RAF Northwood
Northwood Headquarters is a military headquarters facility of the British Armed Forces in Eastbury, Hertfordshire, England, adjacent to the London suburb of Northwood. It is home to three command and control functions of the British armed forces and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO); Permanent Joint Headquarters, Commander in Chief Fleet and the NATO Regional Command, Allied Maritime Component Command Northwood.
The British armed forces first arrived on the site in 1939, when Eastbury Park, Northwood, became the Headquarters of RAF Coastal Command. It was in fact the RAF who started going underground to build their Headquarters.
In 1953, the NATO Commander-in-Chief Eastern Atlantic Area, who was also Commander-in-Chief Fleet, established his Headquarters at Northwood.
In April 1963 the Naval unit at Northwood was commissioned as HMS Warrior and in September 1971 the Royal Navy took over responsibility for the whole site. In 1978 the Flag Officer Submarines also moved his Headquarters to Northwood.
As HQ of the Commander-in-Chief Fleet the site was the controlling Headquarters for Operation Corporate, the Falklands War.
The site falls under the authority of Chief of Joint Operations following a handover from the Commander-in-Chief Fleet in 2002.
In 2006 major construction works commenced to improve the functionality of the site: the works, which involve the refurbishment or replacement of many of the key buildings for the Permanent Joint Headquarters, are being carried under a Private Finance Initiative contract by Carillion.
The main entrance to the base is located on Watford Road, Northwood.
Permanent Joint Headquarters
Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) is a tri-service organisation holding Operational Control of British armed forces joint military operation. PJHQ is headed by the Chief of Joint Operations. Single-service operations remain under the OPCON of the appropriate front-line command.
Royal Navy
Northwood, as HMS Warrior, was the flagship of the Royal Navy’s Commander in Chief Fleet from April 1963, shortly after the transfer of the Home Fleet ashore in 1960.
Following the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentinian forces in 1982, CINCFLEET was given command of the operation to recover the islands. The Operation was directed from Northwood with CINCFLEET staff augmented by personnel from corresponding UK Land Forces and RAF Strike Command headquarters.
In 2002, following a rationalisation, CINCFLEET moved the majority of the staff to Portsmouth, moving into HMS Excellent in 2004. Commander Operations remains with the current operations staff on the Northwood site and CINCFLEET retains an office in addition to the Portsmouth location.
Commander Operations is also commander of the corresponding NATO regional HQ.
NATO and the EU
The NATO regional command, Allied Maritime Component Command Northwood, an element of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, is based in the site. Commander AMCCN is CINCFLEET Commander Operations. Previously AMCCN was designed Commander-in-Chief Eastern Atlantic (CINCEASTLANT) as part of Allied Command Atlantic.
AMCCN provides the Northern Maritime command element of AJFCB to Allied Command Operations.
A headquarters structure is available for the command of European Union military operation. Personnel to support this structure would be seconded from existing NATO and national posts in the site, augmented from elsewhere as required.
Support units
The three Headquarters Staffs are supported by:
   * Joint Support Unit Northwood, providing administrative support, life support, facilities and supplier management.
   * Defence Communication Services Agency regional office, London and Northwood providing Communications and Information Systems support.
   * A detachment of Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines personnel providing force protection.

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