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3.RAF - US Mildenhall

Last modified: 15 Jul 2019

Country: United Kingdom    Region: Suffolk

Locale: Mildenhall

Latitude: 52° 21' 0" N     Longitude: 0° 28' 59" E

Area use / Military Branches: Active


RAF Mildenhall; activated 1934 and in WW2 one of the largest Bomber Command bases. As of 1951 Strategic Air Command (SAC) took control of RAF Mildenhall and rotated several bomb wings on temporary duty (TDY) assignments operating B-50Ds and KB-29Ps. In 1953 SAC mission changed into a Boeing B-47 Stratojet and KC-97 Stratotanker aerial tanker dispersal base. This series of TDYs was called Reflex ops and involved an entire wing of appx 40 B-47s and 20 tankers being held at readiness for 4 months, being relieved by another unit based at another base in the UK with the bombers and tankers also at dispersed airfields. Thus SAC could spread out its potential as a Soviet target by placing its medrange B-47s, weapons and personnel on a ring of overseas bases from Greenland to North Africa. RAF Mildenhall participated in Reflex operations until 1960 and in 2000 declassified documents confirmed storage of 25 hydrogen bombs used in the Reflex ops at grid 52°23'4"N 0°28'46"E

Current status: active with
- USAF 100th Air Refueling (host) Wing. Activated 1992. Plans, intell support, schedules and executes USAFE’s air refueling ops across Europe and Africa. with 15 KC-135 Stratotankers in support of multi-service, allied and coalition receiver aircraft flying training, exercise and contingency missions. The unit serves as an Air Expeditionary Group of a minimum of 3 squadrons and maintains and operates the only 24-hour USAFE base in the UK.

US Defence Sec Chuck Hagel announced the US withdrawal from Mildenhall in 2015 (postponed until 2020) as part of a financial reduction saving $500m a year across Europe. 100 ARW will relocate to Ramstein/Germany and MoD announced that Mildenhall would be sold after US departure.

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