|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
|Near Odiham, Hampshire in England|
Grob glider similar to that used by 618 VGS
Shown within Hampshire
|Type||Royal Air Force station|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Operator||Royal Air Force|
|Group Captain R Maddison OBE ADC MA RAF|
|Identifiers||IATA: ODH, ICAO: EGVO|
|Elevation||123 metres (404 ft) AMSL|
|Approach 131.30 Mhz, Tower 119.225 Mhz.|
Royal Air Force Odiham or more simply RAF Odiham (IATA: ODH, ICAO: EGVO) is a Royal Air Force station situated a little to the south of the historic village of Odiham in Hampshire, England. It is the home of the Royal Air Force's heavy lift helicopter, the Chinook HC2, HC2A and HC3. Its current station commander is Group Captain R Maddison OBE MA RAF.
Second World War
- No. 2 Squadron RAF operated the Mustang I between 7 August 1943 and 22 September 1943 and again between 6 October 1943 and 14 November 1943.
- The squadron returned on 27 June 1944 with the Mustang II before leaving on 29 July 1944.
- No. 4 Squadron RAF using the Hawker Hector and the Westland Lysander I between 16 February 1936 and 24 September 1939.
- No. 13 Squadron RAF with the Westland Lysander Mk III and the Bristol Blenheim Mk IV between 17 July 1941 and 1 August 1942 with detachments at RAF Detling, RAF Wattisham and RAF Thruxton.
- The squadron returned on 10 August 1942 again with the Blenheim IV and for the first time the Mk V version. They left on 15 November 1942.
- No. 53 Squadron RAF with the Hawker Hector and the Blenheim IV between 8 April 1938 and 20 September 1939.
- No. 59 Squadron RAF operated the Blenheim IV between 6 June 1940 and 3 July 1940.
- No. 63 Squadron RAF using the Mustang Mk I between 21 November 1942 and 27 July 1943 with a detachment at RAF Macmerry.
- No. 82 Squadron RAF with the Blenheim IV between August 1939 and 21 March 1942 as an detachment from RAF Watton.
- No. 96 Squadron RAF operated the de Havilland Mosquito XIII between 24 September 1944 and 12 December 1944 before being disbanded here.
Following the end of the War RAF Fighter Command assumed control of the base and operated Supermarine Spitfires, Hawker Hunters and Gloster Javelins. No. 54 Squadron RAF moved in 1949, flying de Havilland Vampires, before being reequipped with Meteors and being relocated to RAF Stradishall in 1959. As part of her coronation celebrations Queen Elizabeth II reviewed the Royal Air Force at Odiham in 1953.
After a short period in "care and maintenance" status the base was reopened as part of Transport Command. In this role Westland Whirlwind and then Bristol Belvedere helicopters were operated from the base. From 1961 to 1981 the Westland Wessex was based here, joined by the Aérospatiale Puma of 33 Squadron and 230 Squadron in 1970.
In 1981 the Wessex helicopters of 72 Squadron moved to RAF Aldergrove, followed by 33 Squadron's Pumas in 1997 to RAF Benson. The Wessex moved to RAF Benson and continued to support SHFNI at RAF Aldergrove.
The first Chinook HC.1s were delivered to the RAF in 1980 and arrived at Odiham in 1982. The first HC.2 arrived in 1993. The RAF ordered the Chinook HC.3, a special forces variant, in 1995. After being in storage for eight years due to avionics certification problems, the HC.3 airframes were retro-fitted with HC.2 avionics during 2009 and 2010, to enable them to finally enter RAF service. In 2009, orders were placed for additional aircraft, but this is subject to the Strategic Defence Review due to be published in late 2010. Additional aircraft are likely to be based at nearby RAF Benson.
618 Volunteer Gliding Squadron arrived in July 2000. The Unit operates the Vigilant T Mk 1 self-launching glider. The Unit provides basic flying and gliding training to members of the Air Cadet Organisation. The Squadron operates normally at weekends and also runs four continuous week courses each year.
In 2010 it was announced that Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire Police would share Air Support. RAF Odiham will house one of two helicopters covering the three counties, the other being based in Shoreham in Sussex.
The Kestrel Gliding Club continues to fly from Odiham at weekends, having become part of the Royal Air Force Gliding and Soaring Association in 2006.
- Headquarters, Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing
- 7 Squadron - The 2 Gazelle AH.1 formerly operated by 7 Squadron have been reassigned, XX385 into storage at RAF Shawbury and XZ296 to 666(V) Sqn at Netheravon.
- 18 Squadron
- 27 Squadron
- 18/27 (Engineering ) Squadron - Ground crew element of 18 and 27 Squadron, maintaining and repairing the 60 Chinook HC.2/2A/C.3 aircraft the flying squadrons operate.
- Joint Helicopter Support Unit
- No. 618 Volunteer Gliding Squadron - 4 Vigilant T Mk 1
- No. 657 Squadron Army Air Corps flying Lynx AH.7 helicopters
- 1827 (Odiham) Squadron Air Training Corps
- Jefford, C.G, MBE, BA, RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
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- Airport information for EGVO at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.