Armed Forces Overviews
United Kingdom

Name of the Air Force

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Other Forces
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By Erik-Jan Engelen

The United Kingdom defence force is one of the largest in Europe. Over the years the British forces have proven themselves many times in combat. Of course during both the First and Second World War, but also more recent during wars and conflicts like the Korean Conflict (1950-1951), Falklands War (1982), First Gulf War (1991) , Kosovo Conflict (1999), Afghanistan (since 2001). Second Gulf War (2003-2011) and the Lybian conflict (2011). In 1998 a Strategic Defence Review (SDR) was conducted to lead the British forces into the 21st century. One of the most eye-catching results of this was the creation of various multi-service commands like the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) and Joint Force Harrier (JFH). In 2011, defence cuts were announced following the Strategic Defence and Safety Review (SDSR) which trimmed down the size of the British armed forces.

On these pages you will find a detailed review of all aviation units of the Royal Air Force, Army Air Corps, Fleet Air Arm and Ministry of Defence. Due to changing budgets, political movements, terrorism and other factors the order of battle keeps on changing. We will however try to keep it up to date to the best of our ability so please visit our website regularly a send in any additional information to the following e-mail address: uk@scramble.nl

Because of the size of the forces we decided to split this overview in to several parts: One for the Air Force, one for the RAF glider units (Air Cadets), one for the Navy, one for the Army and one for other Government Agencies which uses aircraft. Of course a database and links to other related pages are available.

Royal Air Force

History On 1 April 1911 the first British military organisation focussed on aviation was established. It was the Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers at Larkhill. The unit consisted out of two companies. No. 1 Company with airships, balloons & kites and No. 2 Company with aircraft. About a year later the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) was constituted on 13 April 1912. The previous mentioned companies were absorbed into this organisation and renamed into squadrons. The RFC grew enormously, especially during 1914 when the First World War broke out in Europe. On the historical day of 1 April 1918 the Royal Air Force (RAF) was established by combining both the RFC and the Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS). The Bristol F2b aircraft of 22sq had the honour to carry out the first official mission of the RAF. At the end of the First World War the RAF consisted of almost 300,000 personnel and 22,647 aircraft. These aircraft were divided over 188 frontline squadrons, 15 flights and 75 training squadrons/units. Of course this was down scaled during the post war years due to massive budget cuts.

On 2 September 1939, one day after the German invasion of Poland, which is considered as the official start of the Second World War ten RAF squadrons equipped with Fairey Battle bombers and two RAF squadrons equipped with Hawker Hurricane fighters deployed to France. The next day Britain declared war on Germany. A few hours later the first official RAF war sortie was flown by a Bristol Blenheim of No. 139sq. The British expeditionary force in France could not stop the advancing German army, and the remains of this force, together with many French soldiers, were evacuated to England in Operation Dynamo. It was by then that it became clear that the RAF started too late with modernizing and expanding operational squadrons. In June 1940 Fighter Command only had 331 Hurricanes and Spitfires with another 36 in reserve. On 10 July 1940 the first phase of the famous Battle of Britain commenced. Many historians divide the battle in four phases. During the first phase the aerial fighting concentrated over the English Channel, secondly there were the attacks on the Fighter Command Air Stations. During the third phase German bombers raged havoc on London, triggering a response from the RAF Bomber Command which started its campaign against German cities. Towards the end of the summer the fourth and final phase was fought. During this period the Luftwaffe retreated their bombers and started attacks using fighter-bombers instead. The war continued with successes and losses on all sides. Slowly the war turned in favour of the allies with D-Day (6 June 1944) as the most memorable day of the war. The next big battle in which the RAF played an important role was Operation Market Garden (17-25 September 1944). Allied paratroops were dropped over The Netherlands in an attempt to secure the bridges over various large rivers. In total 3,887 allied aircraft, including 1,053 Dakotas and 500 gliders, dropped some 35,000 troops behind enemy lines. The bridge over the river Rhine at Arnhem proved to be "one bridge too far". A milestone was reached on 5 March 1943 when the first British Gloster Meteor jet fighter took to the sky for the first time. The aircraft was still in the developing stage and would reach squadron service by July 1944 (616sq). This however would prove too late to play an important role in the war. On 8 May 1945 the Germans officially surrendered (V-Day). In Asia the tide had turned as well by early 1945. In April the British forces successfully liberated large portions of Burma. And after the American Army Air Force had dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima (6 August 1945) and Nagasaki (9 August 1945) Japan surrendered as well. Officially the war in Asia ended on 15 August 1945 (VJ -Day).

In the post World War Two years the RAF was scaled down again. However a valuable lesson was learned and funds were made available to keep the military equipment up-to-date. The dark clouds of war packed again over Great Britain in 1982 when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. In terms of the air war only, it was mainly the Royal Navy which carried the burden of liberating the Falklands. This was of course due to the huge distance between Europe and these islands. The RAF however did deploy several Harrier GR3 jump jets onto Royal Navy carriers as well as Chinook and Wessex helicopters onto freight vessels. Vulcan bombers, supported by Victor tankers, also carried out long range bombing raids on targets on the Falklands, including the airfield at Port Stanley.

During the later 1980s the RAF continued to replace aging aircraft by more modern versions or new ones. But when Iraq invaded Kuwait (August 1990), it were not only the modern Tornado jets which were deployed to the Gulf region. As tanker support several VC-10 aircraft were deployed, and also 55sq participated with their aging Victors. In May 1973 the first Jaguar was accepted by the RAF and now, almost 20 years later, a detachment from RAF Coltishall deployed to the Gulf region as well. Most remarkable however were the Buccaneers (12sq and 208sq) which supported the Tornado GR1 bombers with their laser targeting systems during this war. During the later 1990s many of these older types were finally withdrawn from use. Most of the time without replacement since the Cold War really came to an end in this period. The Berlin wall came down in 1989 and in the following years East and West grew closer together. For the RAF, as for most defence organisations in Europe, this meant a decrease in the number of units. The RAF pulled back out of Germany with the final squadron (9sq) leaving RAF Brüggen in September 2001. Also more and more multi-service organisations were established like the Defence Helicopter Flying School, Joint Helicopter Command and Joint Force Harrier. Concerning aircraft types the biggest changes was the introduction of the Eurofighter (called Typhoon by the RAF) which replaced the Tornado F3, and the retirement of the Jaguar GR3A / T4A fleet.

In 2011, the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) resulted in massive cut backs for the British Defence Force. For the RAF, this included the retirement of the entire Harrier fleet and cut backs for the Tornado GR4 community. Also various stations were either closed immediately, or it was announced that they will close in the years following the SDSR.

Current organisation

The RAF was organised into two commands till mid 2007. First one is the Strike Command, under which are the operational units of the RAF, and secondly there is the Personnel and Training Command. Starting 1 April 2007 both commands were combined into one command: Air Command. All logistics support for the AAC, FAA and RAF has been combined under the Defence Logistics Organisation. The RAF Support Helicopter squadrons, as well as some training squadrons, are under command of a multi-service organisation called Joint Helicopter Command.

Air Command, HQ High Wycombe

After a another reorganisation the RAF Strike Command was restructured per 1 April 2007. The main purpose of this reorganisation was to adapt the command to the changed world order of the late 1990s. Like many other defence forces the RAF Air Command has been prepared to react quickly to crises with deployable expeditionary forces called Expeditionary Air Wings. Prior to this experience with multi-service organisation had been already gained by combining the helicopter crew training of the AAC, FAA and RAF. In the period 1998-2001 more multi-service organisations were established like the Joint Force Harrier and the Joint Helicopter Command (see further for details). Part of the reorganisation was also re-arranging the groups under the former Strike Command. Three elements with famous histories were disbanded. These three famous groups were: No. 11 Group (Battle of Britain), No. 18 Group (Maritime Patrol) and No. 38 Group (tactical transport and air-to-air refuelling). Nowadays there are three groups:

 

No. 1 Group (Combat Air Power)

All fast jet squadrons have been gathered under the command of No. 1 Group. The most recent addition to this group is the Typhoon (Eurofighter). Early 2005 two units, being 17(R)sq and 29(R)sq, moved from BAE Warton to RAF Coningsby. These two units are tasked with the training of new pilots (29sq) and creating tactics for the operational use of the type (17sq). The first operational Typhoon F1 squadron is 3(F) squadron, a former Harrier unit, which was followed by 11(F) squadron, both are based at RAF Coningsby. Other squadrons reporting to No 1 Group are the fast jet training squadrons equipped with Hawks. Finally there also are two groups of squadrons which for operational matters report to Joint Commands. First this are the RAF Tornado squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Marham. Secondly this are the RAF Battle Field Support Helicopter squadrons which also report to the Joint Helicopter Command.

No. 2 Group (Air Combat Support and Air Battle Management)

The RAF combined all transport and refuelling squadrons under No. 2 Group. Basically this are the C-130 squadrons at RAF Brize Norton. As well as the C-17A, Tristar and VC-10 units based at the same airfield. Expected major future changes to this group are the introduction of the A-400M which will replace the remaining ageing C-130K Hercules (C1 and C3 versions), and the replacement of the VC-10 and Tristar fleet by a single Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft for which the A330-200 has been selected. Also reporting to this group are the maritime patrol aircraft, surveillance aircraft and search & rescue helicopters. The retired the Nimrod MR2, and cancelled the Nimrod MRA4 project, but discussions are being undertaken to find funds for a future replacement aircraft. The RAF is also looking into replacing the Sea King HAR3(A) helicopters. These Search and Rescue helicopters will be replaced together with their counterparts of the Royal Navy and Coast Guard by a private financed initiative. The current fleet of Sentry AEW1 aircraft will not be replaced in the foreseeable future but it will be upgraded in order to remain state of the art in electronic warfare, communications and surveillance. A new addition was Sentinel R1 of which the first aircraft was delivered in 2007. A small fleet of five Shadow R1 aircraft also reports to No.2 Group. The retired Nimrod R1 aircraft will in the future be replaced by three RC-135 aircraft. Finally also reporting to this group are the RAF air defence radar station and the RAF Regiments.

No. 22 Group (Personnel, Training And Selection)

All training aircraft are allocated to this command, including the 150+ gliders of the Air Cadets and more than 100 Tutor aircraft of the University Air Squadrons. This command however has many more tasks than training aircrews only. Actually the recruitment and training of any RAF employee falls under the responsibility of this command as well as any job-related issue (Human Resources). The RAF summarizes the tasks as: all aspects of recruiting, non-operational flying and ground training, career management, welfare, terms and conditions of service, and resettlement of RAF regular, reserve and civilian staffs world-wide.

Overseas Units

The RAF used to have a massive number of squadrons, flights and other units based at overseas locations. After World War Two many former colonies of Great Britain became independent resulting in the British military forces leaving. In most cases the units were simply disbanded. When the Iron Curtain came down in 1989 the fate for most of the remaining overseas units was sealed. The squadrons of the Royal Air Force Germany (RAFG) were slowly returned to the United Kingdom and their old bases were mostly closed. After the RAFG was disbanned and the last squadrons returned to the United Kingdom the RAF retained a presence at the Falklands and at Cyprus. The ongoing battles in Iraq and Afghanistan also called for a continued presence in these regions. Most often the various squadrons take turns in deploying airccraft to these countries but in a few cases dedicated flights were activated to control the locally based aircraft and/or helicopters.

Fleet Air Arm

Royal Navy

The main focus of the Royal Navy (RN) is obviously its fleet of combat ships. However the aviation assets of this service (Fleet Air Arm) forms an integral part of the British sea power. The main goal for the RN, as described in the Strategic Defence Review, is to contribute to achieving a peaceful environment in which the UK's foreign policy and trade can flourish along with the assured security of the UK and her overseas territories.

Until 2011, the RN had two Invincible class carriers on strength, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious, with the HMS Invincible in reserve. Following the Strategic Defence and Secutiry Review (SDSR), HMS Ark Royal was decommisioned in 2011. A standard Carrier Air Wing deployed aboard the carriers used to consists out of eight Harrier jets of the Joint Harrier Force and twelve helicopters (usually a mix of Sea King HU5SAR Search and Rescue, Sea King ASaC7 Airborne Early Warning and Merlin HM1 Anti Submarine Warfare helicopters). Following the SDSR the Harrier fleet was also retired, so the remaining carrier currently only operates as helicopter platform. With the increasing inter-service co-operation RAF Chinook helicopters, as well as AAC Apache and Lynx helicopters, often operate from the decks of Royal Navy vessels as well. The development of replacement carriers has already commenced. The RN plans to replace its remaining Invincible class carrier by two large examples called the HMS Queen Elizabeth and the HMS Prince of Wales. These carriers will be able to support operations of a regular carrier air wing equipped with 40 aircraft and helicopters. During crisis situations the vessels will have the capacity to increase this number to at least 50 aircraft and helicopters. Not just the carriers are being replaced, also the aviation assets. The carrier air wing will consist of a mix of aircraft and is specially designed around the F-35 Lightning II VSTOL aircraft for the air defence and strike role . The exact type to fulfil the AEW role aboard the future carrier is not yet known. The Future Organic Airborne Early Warning (FOAEW), as this project is called, is focussed on the choice between the Grumman E-2C+ Hawkeye, Boeing-Bell V-22 Osprey and Agusta-Westland EH-101 Merlin. Finally there will be a third type, currently known as Future Amphibious Support Helicopter (FASH), operating from these carriers. Several types are still in the race for this contract, including NH90, EH101 and OV-22.

Fleet Air Arm

Formed in November 1913 as the Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS). It however merged together with the RFC into the newly formed RAF on 1 April 1918. There remained a strong lobby in the Royal Navy for a navy controlled air wing. A first step towards this was made in 1924 when it was decided that when deployed aboard a vessel control over the aircraft in question would be in hands of the Royal Navy. The second step, the actual establishment of the Naval Air Branch (NAB), took place in 1937. This organisation was later renamed in Fleet Air Arm (FAA). During the Second World War the FAA played an important role. One of the largest successes of the British naval aviation was the attack on the Italian fleet in Taranto on 11 November 1940. Four Swordfish squadrons (813sq, 815sq, 819sq and 824sq) operating from HMS Illustrious crippled the Italian fleet in their major naval port. With the loss of only two aircraft the British planes ensured that the Italian navy would be no threat to allied shipping for several months.

With the changes in the world order in the 1990s the role of the FAA changed somewhat and the Royal Navy became more and more important for British defence. The Rapid Reaction Force Operations and Peacekeeping Operations often called upon the Royal Navy carriers and amphibious ships. Of course it is the FAA which provides the aviation assets operating from these ships. Often re-enforced with AAC and/or RAF aircraft and helicopters. To more streamline these joint operations all three Sea King HC4 and the single Lynx squadron, which supports No. 3 Commando Marines, were placed under the Joint Helicopter Command as of October 1999. Also both FAA Harrier squadrons (800sq and 801sq) now report to the Joint Command Harrier. The two Dauphins operated by FOST are owned and maintained by Bond Helicopters Ltd. Both have military serials allocated. Also the equipment of the FAA underwent several changes. The Sea King HAS6 was replaced by the Merlin HM1 while the Sea King AEW2A was upgraded the more modern and capable ASaC7 version. By 2012 the F-35B Lightning II will be introduced as (Sea) Harrier replacement. The exact number of planes to be ordered has yet to be decided. And there also are studies underway for a new commando helicopter (FASH) and AEW platform (FOAEW).

Army Air Corps

British Army

By far the largest organisation of the British Defence Force is the British Army. Obviously the emphasis of the army is on ground forces like artillery, cavalry and infantry. However since mankind was able to take to the skies in aviation machines the British Army has been very interested and innovative. The RAF started out as Royal Flying Corps and as such part of the British Army. Currently all aviation assets, with the expection of some Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), of the British Army are gathered under the Army Air Corps.

Army Air Corps

The actual establishment of the Army Air Corps (AAC) took place in February 1942. The corps was formed out of light air-landed infantry (Parachute Regiment), some independent parachute companies and the Glider Pilot Regiment (GPR). The gliders were operated by the AAC and flown by crews from the GPR. The RAF was responsbile for the aircraft which towed the gliders to their destination. The infantry from the Parachute Regiment and companies were transported to the battlefield aboard the RAF towing and transport planes and AAC gliders.

Another, now legendary, unit which fell under control of the AAC was the Special Air Service (SAS). The first major operation in which the gliders were used was the invasion in Normandy. As part of Operation Overlord many British, American and other allied paratroops landed behind the lines. The second well known battle was Operation Market Garden, better known as the Battle of Arnhem. The AAC however was involved in many more battles in Europe and Africa. After the war gliders became obsolete and the pilots were trained on light observation aircraft. The Glider Pilot Regiment remained part of the British Army until 1957 when it was joined together with the Air Observation Post Squadrons into the modern AAC.

First the AAC operated a number of squadrons and flights equipped with Auster light planes and Skeeter helicopters. Some additional flights were incorporated into the structure of army regiments. This evolved into every brigade operating at least one squadron with twelve helicopters in the 1970s. At that point the back bone was formed by the Sioux and Scout helicopters. This again changed into each division having its own aviation regiment which by the mid 1980s were equipped with 36 Lynx and Gazelle helicopters. After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 the cold war rapidly came to an end. This resulted in a drastic decrease of British Army units based in Germany. The once famous British Army Of the Rhine (BOAR) shrunk to what since 1994 was called British Forces Germany. The AAC assests assigned to the BOAR were mostely returned to the United Kingdom with the exception of two units. The smaller one of these two is 12 Flight which operates from the former RAF Brüggen airbase (which is called Javelin Barracks, Elmpt Station since 2001) with three Gazelle AH1 helicopters. At another former RAF station (Gütersloh) a large unit remained. This is 1 Regiment which controls two squadrons, each equipped with six Lynx helicopters.

In October 1999 the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) was established and several AAC attack and observation helicopter squadrons were absorbed into this structure. This does not mean that these units are no longer part of the AAC. Personnel and equipment still report to the AAC command, but to save cost and streamline joint operations the units works under one command with elements of the FAA and RAF. These units are 657sq and four regiments (3, 4, 5 and 9 Regiment AAC). Another unit which is still part of the AAC but operates under a multi-service command is 660sq. This unit is part of the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS). More details on these units can be found further on under the header Multi Service Organisations.

The inventory of the AAC underwent two major changes during the first years of the 21st century. First this was the introduction of the Apache AH1 attack helicopter. This type replaced the Lynx as main attack helicopter. In 2007 the entire Apache fleet was centralized at Wattisham where both 3 Regiment and 4 Regiment each control three Apache squadrons. The second change was the retirement of a large portion of the Gazelle AH1 fleet. In some cases the Gazelles were replace by Lynx helicopters which became available after themselves being replaced by Apaches. In other cases there were no replacements taken on charge.

The current role of the AAC consists of Armed Action, Observation & Reconnaissance, Forward Air Control, Command & Control and Light transport of men and material. To better streamline operations the various units are linked to specific commands or divisions. Details about which AAC regiment is linked to which command or division can be found in the OrBat below.

Government

Ministry of Defence

On 2 July 2001 the test and evaluation department of the MoD (DERA) was split up in two companies. One privately owned and the other still part of the MoD.

QinetiQ

Britain's largest independent science and technology company. This is a wholly government-owned company which incorporates the greater part of the DERA. It focuses on non-nuclear research, technology and test & evaluation establishments. Aviation is only one component. So basically its a company with only one goal: technological research on many fields. Currently QinetiQ has 20 facilities in the United Kingdom of which QinetiQ Boscombe Down still is the major aviation test and trials facility. QinetiQ also maintained the aircraft test and evaluation units at Llanbedr and West Freugh. Both had a relative small number of aircraft allocated compared to Boscombe Down until the entire fleet was centralized at this last mentioned base during the second half of the first decade of the 21st century. Now also part of QinetiQ is the Empire Test Pilot School. This organisation, located at QinetiQ Boscombe Down trains experienced pilots from the RAF, FAA, AAC, other countries and also civilians to become test pilots. A wide range of aircraft is used for this purpose and if needed, additional aircraft can be loaned from British defence services or civil operators. Also part of the DERA is the Meteorological Research Flight (MRF). Early 2001 the single Hercules W2 of this unit was withdrawn from use and the MRF now uses civil registered aircraft.

DSTL

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. Still part of the MoD to keep sensitive fields of science and technologies in hands of a government/military organisation. None of the six facilities of DSTL operate any aircraft or helicopters.

Multi Service Organisations

The bang with which the Berlin wall came down in 1989 reached the armed services of many NATO countries during the first half of the 1990s. At first the defence budgets were cut dramatically resulting in fewer bases and less equipment. During the mid 1990s however it turned out that the structure of the NATO defence forces was not perfect for the changed world order in which more and more peacekeeping missions were conducted rather than preparing for a big all out war between East and West. Studies were conducted to restructure the defence forces once again. In the United Kingdom the biggest study was the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) in July 1998. One of the results of the SDR was a strong preference for inter-service co-operation, which resulted in completely new commands.

Joint Elementary Flying Training School, RAF Barkston Heath

This is a civilianised school, which provides basic training for future AAC, FAA and RAF pilots. It replaced the Chipmunk aircraft previously in use with the AAC (BFWF), FAA (BRNC) and RAF (various AEF). The school is equipped with civil registered Slingsby T-67M Firefly aircraft, which mainly operate out of RAF Barkston Heath. However RAF Cranwell, RAF Church Fenton and Middle Wallop also houses facilities of the JEFTS which use Fireflies as well. The school uses two versions of the T-67M Firefly. First there is the T-67M Mk2 which is used for initial grading of Royal Navy and Army pilots. This task used to be done by Chipmunk T10 aircraft operated by the individual services. Secondly there is the T-67M-250 which is used for elementary flying training for all three services. In total forty-three aircraft are on strength.

Joint Helicopter Command, HQ Wilton

This Tri-Service command was formed in October 1999 as a direct result from the SDR. It joins AAC attack and light utility helicopters, FAA commando helicopters and RAF support helicopters together under one command. According to the review and the initial years of operations this construction enhances the effectiveness of the battlefield helicopters and assault forces. The command shares its HQ location with the Army HQ Land Command. This is done since the JHC falls under operational and budgetary control of this army command. The motto of the JHC is "Across All Boundaries" and it has already been tested in the field during UN and NATO Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF) deployments to the Balkan region. Without a doubt JHC and 16 AAB assets will be involved in many more peacekeeping duties around the world.

Defence Helicopter Flying School, HQ Shawbury

In 1994 a defence cost cut study was conducted. One of the results was the formation of a tri-service helicopter training unit. To further save money the helicopters used by the unit were to be owned by a civil contractor and leased by the military. The command was formed in April 1997 and it is commanded on a rotation basis by a group captain equivalent (colonel). The principle training helicopters of the three individual services were all versions of the Gazelle (AH1, HT2 and HT3 versions). These were ageing and with the introduction of new helicopters like the Apache and the Merlin ahead, they needed to be replaced. A request for tender was issued which was won by FBS Ltd. This is a consortium of FR Aviation Ltd and Bristow Helicopters Ltd. These companies own the DHFS fleet of Squirrel HT1 and Griffin HT1 helicopters but it also takes care of all maintenance plus 40% of the instructors are on its payroll.

Defence Aircraft Repair Agency

On 1 April 1999 the RAF Maintenance Group Defence Agency (MGDA) and FAA Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation (NARO) were joined together under one organisation called DARA. NARO already was working together with the AAC on maintenance and modification of the AAC helicopters. This merge was again a result of the Strategic Defence Review and it was expected to save 20% in costs for aircraft and other equipment maintenance. Until February 2008 the DARA organisation consisted of five business units:

  • DARA Engines Primarily based at DARA Fleetlands, it is specialized in maintenance of aero gas turbine engines
  • DARA Components Various components for aircraft and helicopters are repaired, overhauled, tested, serviced and receive maintenance at the locations at DARA Almondbank
  • DARA St.Athan and DARA Fleetlands
  • DARA Rotary-Wing Repair, maintenance and refurbishment of helicopters at DARA Fleetlands
  • DARA Fixed-Wing Repair, maintenance and refurbishment of fixed-wings (mainly jets) at DARA St.Athan
  • DARA Electronics Repair, modification, calibration of various electronic components at DARA Sealand

In February 2008 however the Rotary Wing component was sold to Vector Aerospace. The facilities at Almondbanks and Fleetlands remained active in supporting the British military rotor assests but now as a commercial company and no longer as a government agency.

Finally there also is a technical training school which also uses airframes for instructional purposes. As with most ground schools the aircraft retained the markings of their last operational units.

DARA Technical Training School various at DARA St.Athan

Defence College Of Aeronautical Engineering As a result of the Defence Training Review (DTR) the Joint Service Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering (DCAE) was established on 1 April 2004. The principle task of this organisation is to provide the British military with fully trained aeronautical engineers. In total five training establishments accross the country are joined under one command:

  • AESS Aeronautical Engineering and Survival School Royal Navy Gosport/HMS Sultan
  • SEAE School of Electronic and Aeronautical Engineering Army Air Corps Arborfield
  • 1SoTT No 1 School of Technical Training Royal Air Force RAF Cosford
  • EOT Engineering Officer Training Royal Air Force RAF Cranwell
  • P&FT Painter and Finisher Training Royal Air Force MoD St.Athan

Details of the individual units, that is the first three mentioned since these have aircraft and/or helicopters allocated for ground instruction purposes can be found under the RAF, FAA and AAC part of this website. Since the DCAE was created it has been discussed to join the five establishments together at a single location. MoD St.Athan has been mentioned several time as a future location but so far none of the units has actually moved.