From Base Commander RAF Fairford
In July this year, the United States asked for MOD approval to reverse their decision to divest RAF Mildenhall, this was approved, however, there remained some ambiguity as to whether the RC-135 RIVET JOINT Mission movement to RAF Fairford would continue. In early November the ambiguity was resolved and the United States notified the MOD that the decision had been made to keep the RC-135 RIVET JOINT Mission at its current location of RAF Mildenhall.
This begs the question: what will happen at RAF Fairford. There remain several other projects that will increase the population at RAF Fairford, but not to the extent that we were anticipating under the RC-135. In short, there will be US dollars spent on upgrading facilities and some construction work that has been planned outwith the RC-135 plans and these will lead to a gentle increase in personnel based at Fairford from now until circa 2024. I personally believe this is a good thing for the local area, as there had previously been concerns raised in the community about the influx of 800+ U.S. military members and families. I am sure that more refined numbers of personnel will be established in the coming months as we further consider corollaries between the growth initiatives that remain extant.
I can confirm that RAF Fairford’s status as a Forward Operating Location for strategic aircraft remains unchanged. The base will continue to host regular deployments by USAF strategic aircraft.
Jayne J M ROBERTSON