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00. AIR/USAFE/ RAF Lakenheath ☢

Last modified: 06 Jun 2022

Country: United States    Region: Overseas

Locale: UK

Latitude: 52° 24' 45" N     Longitude: 0° 33' 23" E

Area use / Military Branches: ACTIVE


52°24'45"N 0°33'23"E RAF Lakenheath Former WW2 bomberbase. In 1949 over to USAF and accommodated for SAC units deploying for 90-day temporary deployments. High-secerurity became effective when nuc weapons were permanently stored in 1956. In 1960 base reassigned to USAFE

In the Cold War era several units with various aircraft types have been stationed. Lockheed U-2s were airlifted to Lakenheath forming CIA Det. A before moving to Germany. North American F-100 Super Sabres from 48th Fighter WIng were redeployed when France left NATO under pres, de Gaulle. From 1972-1977 the 48th FW converted to and operated the MCD F-4 Phantom 2. In 1977 converting again to the General Dynamics FB-111 until 1992 when the FB-111's were replaced by F-15C and D aircraft. In 2003, the 48th FW received the first of 10 new F-15E Strike Eagles.

Accidents: In 1956 a nuc weapons (Broken Arrow) accident occurred when a B-47 crashed on an igloo containing 3 Mk 6 nuclear bombs! The crew perished but no detonations... In 1961 an F-100 armed with a MK28 nuc bomb caught fire on the ground but again no detonation...

Live deployments: FB-111īs participated in operation 'El dorado canyon' (the air raid on Lybia) in 1986.

Lakenheath has 60 on base Protective Aircraft Shelters. 33 are WS3 equipped (storage vaults with max capacity of 132 weapons). All completed in 1994. Prior to that a nuclear storage at grid 52°25'3"N 0°33'29"E had been used. In 2003 a total of 110 B61 bombs was available on base for F-15E delivery. In 2008 the USAF Munition Support Sq deactivated as all bombs were airlifted back to the US.

Current status:
48th FW is operating F-15D/E's and F-35A Lightning 2. Future: Lakenheath will remain USAFEs only European fighterbase. In 2016 a study to make Lakenheath limited nuc ops again has been initiated and because of the current political situation it is to be expected that this status will be effective in the summer of 2022.

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