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RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby andrewn » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:48 pm

skysearcher wrote:Hi all

Snoop I dont think Sculthorpe is leased to USAF, but maintained by MoD?

Interesting article re mildenhall here http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArch ... inish.aspx
suggests missions slated to be re-based remain at Mildy until 2022 (currently), can anyone corroborate the end date?

Thanks in advance,


Great find with some interesting and candid thoughts from the base commander. My take on it:
- USAFE would like to keep MH open and is holding out on "irreversible" move activity for as long as they possibly can
- There's some bi-lateral "understanding" between US/UK Govts which is driving this closure, undoubtedly the DoD were looking for a base closure in Europe in advance of a stateside BRAC however the cynic in me thinks UK Govt were more than willing to see MH go as it releases new housing land they are looking for from MoD
- We have limited UK basing options for our own RJs, and the closing of so many mil airfields with nice long runways is now looking rather short sighted in my opinion.

I personally live in hope that there's a few more twists and turns in this one that just might result in MH staying open a while longer :)
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby page_verify » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:34 pm

A really interesting article, thank you for sharing it. A lot of what it mentions is what I'd called "internal affairs"- the USAF needs some tankers in Western Europe, it'll still have some somewhere. Perhaps the most revealing comment was about how the RAF don't like operating the RC-135 from RAF Waddington. While there's an element of reading too much into simple comments, I can still see both the RAF and USAF RC-135s operating from Fairford even if they're assigned on paper to Lakenheath and Waddington.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby baz1 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:03 am

page_verify wrote:A really interesting article, thank you for sharing it. A lot of what it mentions is what I'd called "internal affairs"- the USAF needs some tankers in Western Europe, it'll still have some somewhere. Perhaps the most revealing comment was about how the RAF don't like operating the RC-135 from RAF Waddington. While there's an element of reading too much into simple comments, I can still see both the RAF and USAF RC-135s operating from Fairford even if they're assigned on paper to Lakenheath and Waddington.


as regards the RC-135 operating out of Waddington I believe that's what part of the runway work and restructuring was undertaken for so they could take of fully loaded i'm sure someone will correct me if i'm wrong!
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby Unknown74 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:22 am

On the subject of the RAF and US RC-135 operating from Waddington if I remember rightly do Mildenhall not have a rotation of USAF E-3 Sentries which Waddington could take on once Mildenhall closes.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby BOLLO » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:48 am

Unknown74 wrote:On the subject of the RAF and US RC-135 operating from Waddington if I remember rightly do Mildenhall not have a rotation of USAF E-3 Sentries which Waddington could take on once Mildenhall closes.


The E 3's only come as a divert or a night stop to and from the Med/Middle East.The RC's are not going to Waddington the are relocating to LN should the Hall close .
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby page_verify » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:02 pm

baz1 wrote:as regards the RC-135 operating out of Waddington I believe that's what part of the runway work and restructuring was undertaken for so they could take of fully loaded i'm sure someone will correct me if i'm wrong!


That's certainly what I thought, but the comment in that article suggests it's still too short for the operational missions they want to launch from Waddington. As a comparison, Waddington's new runway is 8,860ft, Mildenhall's is 9,219ft and Lakenheath's is 8,999ft. So all fairly similar. The game changer potentially is that Fairford's is currently 9,990ft and could I once heard be lengthened to around 11,000ft fairly cheaply. I forget the exact distance, but at some point around 8,500ft, every extra foot of runway allows the amount of fuel they can take off with to increase almost exponentially.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby C24 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:05 pm

Baz1's comment about RJs wishing to launch fully laden with fuel from Waddington.

As a layman, why wouldn't they launch with a low fuel load and fully tank during the transit period to their operational area.

It would be easier to return to base early if necessary, extend their time on task and maybe other clever things beyond my grasp
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby page_verify » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:07 pm

C24 wrote:As a layman, why wouldn't they launch with a low fuel load and fully tank during the transit period to their operational area.


They could, but the RAF depend on the USAF for tankers to refuel its RC-135s. I'm sure there's no shortage of USAF tankers that could support RAF RC-135 missions but at the same time, I'm sure the RAF would like to be able to send an RC-135 whenever and wherever they'd like without having to prebook with Uncle Sam.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby conelrad » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:24 pm

page_verify wrote:
baz1 wrote:as regards the RC-135 operating out of Waddington I believe that's what part of the runway work and restructuring was undertaken for so they could take of fully loaded i'm sure someone will correct me if i'm wrong!


That's certainly what I thought, but the comment in that article suggests it's still too short for the operational missions they want to launch from Waddington. As a comparison, Waddington's new runway is 8,860ft, Mildenhall's is 9,219ft and Lakenheath's is 8,999ft. So all fairly similar. The game changer potentially is that Fairford's is currently 9,990ft and could I once heard be lengthened to around 11,000ft fairly cheaply. I forget the exact distance, but at some point around 8,500ft, every extra foot of runway allows the amount of fuel they can take off with to increase almost exponentially.

They use that extra portion for takeoffs at Mildenhall. So over 10,000 feet for takeoffs there.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby BOLLO » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:37 pm

Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby TonyO » 22 Sep 2016, 12:44
Been told today that the 95th's UK Operating Location will be Lakenheath.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby page_verify » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:39 pm

conelrad wrote:They use that extra portion for takeoffs at Mildenhall. So over 10,000 feet for takeoffs there.


Ok, that makes more sense now then. That already gives them 1,000+ft more than Waddington which will be a significant quantity of extra fuel as SAC-era aircraft were often designed to require 12,000ft to take off with their maximum take off weight.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby johnwayne » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:46 pm

skysearcher wrote:Hi all

Snoop I dont think Sculthorpe is leased to USAF, but maintained by MoD?

Interesting article re mildenhall here http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArch ... inish.aspx
suggests missions slated to be re-based remain at Mildy until 2022 (currently), can anyone corroborate the end date?

Thanks in advance,


I believe Sculthorpe is MOD and admistered by the Army as part of STANTA (although physically separate). Yes used continually by SOG from the Hall for airdrops/remote strip training etc. which would presumably cease when/if move to Germany goes ahead . However other RAF/Army CAS and helo exercises also take place at Scully several times a year so may just about 'survive' as a training facility beyond SOG !
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby baz1 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:48 pm

i wonder what the main reason the RAF don't like operating the RC-135 out of Waddington maybe with so much time at the hall the like the USA way of life! and were will the maintenance be carried out I wonder.
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Location: lincoln between scampton and waddington

Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby Proteus » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:44 pm

Bld523 and BLD 525, the Intel support facilities Baz1, that I would think is the reason the RAF goose stays around.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby page_verify » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:38 pm

You mean the 488th IS? They provide both intel support AND the aircrew for European RC-135 operations, and are one of the reasons why in my view there's not been any official announcement of where the RC-135s from Mildenhall will be relocating to.
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby skysearcher » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:46 pm

hi all appreciate this interesting discussion

my thoughts exactly - and at risk of reading too much into a comment by OC 100ARW in a magazine article, it could be viewed that extrapolation of one comment is that re-basing USAF RC-135 rotation and associated intel support to be closer to eventual home of the European based USAF tanker fleet would make sense - particularly given his view that their tanker force is over-stretched and having to re-assign priority missions at expense of routine refuelling. I wonder then for this reason if he is suggesting RAF is waiting to see where the USAF beds down the RC's before deciding where to base theirs. ... my money here might be on Ramstein, despite the number of comments from a range of knowledgeable contributors which suggest 95RS to go to Lakenheath.... If it does turn out to be Ramstein would the RAF stand up a detachment at Ramstein too? plum duty for some me thinks
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby page_verify » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:35 pm

Skysearcher,

A thoughtful interpretation of the article. My only suggestion would be that based on previous politics, the UK would be a far more preferable place for the US to fly its regular RC-135 missions from than Germany. From what little we know, the UK government has almost always allowed US intelligence operations on and from its soil, both here on the mainland and other territories around the world. I don't know - and we may be surprised - but my gut feel is that Germany wouldn't be so willing to allow regular strategic reconnaissance missions from its soil. Is there any relatively recent history of SR-71, U-2 or RC-135 missions from Germany that we could learn from? I'd imagine if they could, then the Americans would already be using Ramstein for Central European missions? But who knows?
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby skysearcher » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:29 pm

Hi page_verify

That's a great question regarding German political support for intelligence gathering flights operating from German bases. There may not be an appetite following public controversy around NSA hacking merkels phone and ramstein's alleged involvement as a drone relay station http://www.spiegel.de/international/ger ... 29279.html But, other US mil intel activities are operating in germany (army units in weisbaden and darmstadt areas)... hope the 95th stay here but who knows
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby filmman » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:42 pm

The RAF has already decided their base for RC 135s. Reasoning they could have during the rebuilding of Waddington extended it if necessary for heavier T/O weights. So either (a) they are happy to routinely rely on USAF tankers or (b) they are not using Waddington or (c) short sighted cheese paring MOD/HMT would not finance it. Our problem is we have too much common sense. Our "Special Relationship" is really how useful our intelligence function is to the USA; that includes SIGINT and various world wide off shore islands. If Mildenhall shuts, Lakenheath could be too crowded but the USAF might still prefer to move their RC135s there. Thought are our P8s to have boom or probe refuelling and if boom will the RAF convert some of our tankers?
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Re: RAF Mildenhall to close. Lakenheath to get F-35 by 2020

Postby TankBuster » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:49 pm

I noticed that the airforcemag article is dated April 2016, before anyone realised that DT would become president! Edit: I just noticed that there's two articles :whistle:.
Is it possible that everything will be reviewed again when the new administration takes up office later this month?

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