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Overseas military bases of the United Kingdom

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Some of the major military bases and facilities of the United Kingdom.

Overseas military bases of the United Kingdom enable the British Armed Forces to conduct expeditionary warfare and maintain a forward presence. Bases tend to be located in or near areas of strategic or diplomatic importance, often used for the build-up or resupply of military forces, as was seen during the 1982 Falklands War and the use of RAF Ascension Island as a staging post. Most of the bases are located on British Overseas Territories or former colonies which retain close diplomatic ties with the British government.

Apart from the main operating bases, the British military has personnel stationed at approximately 145 overseas military installations located across 42 countries.[1] Most of these are small contingents. However, some sixty facilities are run directly by the British Armed Forces, including seventeen installations on Cyprus. Allied countries host British military personnel in some sixty-nine facilities, including in Oman, at sixteen locations, and Saudi Arabia, where there are fifteen.[2] Six of the countries with a fixed UK military presence are featured on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's list of 30 "Human Rights Priority Countries": Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.[3]

A number of British military operations have relied heavily on the strategic island of Diego Garcia in the Chagos Islands. It has been used for major operations during the War on Terror, Operation Granby (1991), Operation Herrick (2001–2014), Operation Telic (2003–2011), Operation Shader (2014–present), Operation Desert Storm (1991), Operation Desert Fox (1998), Operation Enduring Freedom (2001–14), Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003–11), and Operation Inherent Resolve (2014–present).[4]

The Ministry of Defence has publicly stated that the British Armed Forces only operates on military bases in the UK, the United States (Creech AFB), British Indian Ocean Territory, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Singapore and the South Atlantic.[5][6]

Facilities by continent[edit]

Six of the countries with a fixed UK military presence are featured on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's list of 30 "Human Rights Priority Countries": Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Several bases are located in tax havens.[3][7]


There are five bases/training facilities in Kenya, including the Kifaru Camp, which is part of the BATUK at the Kahawa Barracks in Nairobi.[8][9][10][11]

British personnel also run the International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) in Sierra Leone, providing the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces with training and mentoring, following the country's civil war.[12]

In the Chagos Islands, the British and American military jointly operate the Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia.[4] The command's mission is "[t]o provide logistic support to operational forces forward deployed to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf AORs in support of national policy objectives."[13] The facility started construction in 1971 and was complete by 1976, becoming operational the very same year.[14][15] Despite the fact that it is technically owned by the Ministry of Defence, the facility is primarily occupied by U.S. Navy elements.[16]


The British Rothera Research Station is located on Antarctica.[17][18] HMS Protector supplies the civilian scientific research station and patrols nearby waters, including those around the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.[1]


The Royal Air Force operate a permanent facility in the United Arab Emirates known as Donnelly Lines. The Royal Navy has a base known as HMS Jufair, or the United Kingdom Naval Support Facility, in Bahrain, where the 9th Mine Counter-Measures Squadron is based.[1]

In Sembawang of Singapore, there is British Defence Singapore Support Unit which is operated by Royal Navy and could be positioned as the logistic centre and supporting base of British Armed Forces in Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania.

Brunei hosts approximately 2000 personnel as part of British Forces Brunei, which includes one roulement battalion of the Royal Gurkha Regiment, with supporting signals, engineer and military police units, and helicopters from No. 230 Squadron RAF.[19]

The UK Joint Logistics Support Base is located in Oman, and is a joint logistical support facility used to facilitate the deployment of the British Armed Forces in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. There is also the Omani-British Joint Training Area, which is also used as a Land Regional Hub for expeditionary warfare by the British Army.[20] Oman's RAFO Musannah is also home to 902 Expeditionary Air Wing and Merlin helicopters.

No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group of the Royal Air Force is currently based at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, to lead air operations in the Middle East.[21]

Kathmandu, Nepal is home to the Headquarters British Gurkhas Nepal. The British Gurkha Camp in Pokhara is the main recruitment centre, where the annual selection course is run, and Dharan Station is small regional recruitment station in eastern Nepal.[22]


The British military operates seventeen military facilities in two 'sovereign base areas' on Cyprus,[1] Akrotiri and Dhekelia, which are host to 2,290 British personnel.[23] There are also four bases in Germany and one each in Gibraltar, Jersey, Lithuania, Estonia, Czech Republic and Norway,[1] with the Norwegian base, Camp Viking, opening most recently, in 2023.[24][25]

The Americas[edit]

As British Overseas Territories, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands have all established locally-recruited units which are reserve components of the British Army.[1][26] The most recently established of these is the Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment, which was officially raised in April 2020.[27][28][29]

RAF Mount Pleasant is the largest of six sites in the Falkland Islands, which is the only territory in South America with British military personnel. Mount Pleasant is supplied from a dockyard at Mare Harbour. The islands are monitored by three radar sites at Mount Alice, Byron Heights and Mount Kent, respectively.[1]

Significant overseas military deployments[edit]

Map of current[when?] military installations

The British Armed Forces maintain a number of larger garrisons and military facilities around the world:

Location Details Ref.
Ascension Island RAF Ascension: The RAF maintains an airbase on Ascension Island; notable for use as a staging post during the 1982 Falklands War. The territory is also the site of a joint UK-US signals intelligence facility. [30]
Australia From as early as 2027, a UK nuclear-powered attack submarine will maintain a rotational presence with American submarines at HMAS Stirling. [31]
Bahrain HMS Jufair: Britain's return East of Suez was marked with the establishment of a large Naval Support Facility. Officially opened in 2018, at the Bahraini port of Mina Salman, the base can support vessels up to the size of aircraft carriers. Bahrain is also home to the UK Maritime Component Command, which supports Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessels deployed in the Middle East. [32]
Belize British Army Training and Support Unit Belize (BATSUB): Used primarily for jungle warfare training, with access to 5,000 square miles (13,000 km2) of jungle terrain. Although British facilities were mothballed in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010, 12 personnel remain on station at BATSUB together with 100 locally-recruited civilian personnel. [33][34]
British Indian Ocean Territory British Forces British Indian Ocean Territories (BFBIOT): A Permanent Joint Operating Base. Although the Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia and airbase facilities on Diego Garcia are leased to the United States, the UK retains ownership and continual access. The small but permanent British garrison, known as Naval Party 1002, forms the civil administration on this British Overseas Territory. [35]
Brunei British Forces Brunei: A garrison made up of one battalion from the Royal Gurkha Rifles and No. 1563 Flight RAF. Established in 1959, it also hosts routine jungle warfare courses for the British Army and Royal Marines. [36]
Canada British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS): Home to a large contingent of in-service British Army vehicles, such as the Challenger 2 and Warrior IFV. It is the British Army's largest armoured warfare training facility, training up-to five battlegroups, each consisting of 1,400 personnel, every year. [37]
Cyprus British Forces Cyprus: A Permanent Joint Operating Base, with significant garrisons in Akrotiri and Dhekelia, including RAF Akrotiri, the joint signals intelligence stations RAF Troodos and Ayios Nikolaos, and facilities to support two resident infantry battalions and supporting British Army units. [35]
Falkland Islands British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI): A Permanent Joint Operating Base. The British garrison is centred around RAF Mount Pleasant (the Mount Pleasant Complex) and includes commitments from all branches of the British Armed Forces, most notably; No. 1435 Flight RAF (4 x Typhoon FGR4), No. 1312 Flight RAF (one Voyager and one Airbus A400M Atlas), HMS Forth, and 1,000 British Army personnel. There are also early-warning and airspace-control radar stations at critical locations, and East Cove Military Port, a deep-water port operated by Naval Party 2010. [35]
NATO: Germany, Estonia and Poland British Army Germany: Home of the 23 Amphibious Engineer Squadron and other supporting elements, as well as depots and the Alpine Training Centre Hubertushaus in Oberstdorf.

NATO Enhanced Forward Presence: The UK contributes about 900 personnel (armour and armoured infantry) to a multi-national NATO battlegroup in Estonia, and an additional light armoured squadron group to NATO forces in Poland.

Gibraltar British Forces Gibraltar: A Permanent Joint Operating Base. Britain has maintained a military presence in Gibraltar since its capture (1704) and the subsequent Treaty of Utrecht (1713). Facilities include (but are not limited to) the airbase RAF Gibraltar and the Port of Gibraltar. [35]
Kenya British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK): Used primarily for the training of British infantry battalions in the arid and rugged terrain of the Great Rift Valley. Routine Royal Engineers and Royal Army Medical Corps exercises also carry out civil engineering projects and health care assistance to the local communities. [39]
Nepal British Gurkhas Nepal: The British Army maintains a small outpost in Nepal for recruitment purposes to the Brigade of Gurkhas. [40]
Norway Camp Viking: Approximately 1,000 personnel from the Royal Navy's Littoral Response Group (North) to respond to emerging crises in Europe. [41]
Oman UK Joint Logistics Support Base: A military logistics centre and training facility in Duqm that will have a dry dock and be able to accommodate submarines and Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. It is hoped to be linked to other Persian Gulf countries by the Gulf Railway. Additionally, a permanent British Army presence is maintained at the Omani-British Joint Training Area which opened in 2019. [42]
Qatar RAF Al Udeid: An outpost at Al Udeid Air Base serving as the headquarters for No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group and its operations across the Middle East.
Singapore British Defence Singapore Support Unit (BDSSU): A Royal Navy repair and logistics support facility at Sembawang wharf in support of the Five Power Defence Arrangements. [43]
United Arab Emirates Donnelly Lines: A headquarters facility opened in March 2024, located within Al Minhad Air Base. [44][45]

Locally raised units of British Overseas Territories[edit]

About OpenStreetMaps
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Map of locally raised units

Six British Overseas Territories also maintain their own locally raised units for home defence and security:

Location Details Official website
Bermuda The Royal Bermuda Regiment: Formed in 1965. www.bermudaregiment.bm
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands Regiment: Formed in 2019. www.exploregov.ky/ciregiment
Falkland Islands Falkland Islands Defence Force: Traces its origins back to 1847. The force consists of one light infantry company and trains once per week. It is manned entirely by the local population, following British Army doctrine, training and operations. www.fig.gov.fk/fidf Archived 2017-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
Gibraltar Royal Gibraltar Regiment: Raised in 1943. The regiment consists of one infantry battalion (1 × HQ company and 3 × infantry companies) and dispatches members to take part in British conflicts overseas. royalgibraltarregiment.gi
Montserrat Royal Montserrat Defence Force: Raised in 1899. https://www.gov.ms/?s=Royal+Montserrat+Defence+Force
Turks and Caicos Islands Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment: Raised in 2020. https://www.gov.tc/government

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ "UK military base sites overseas, 2020". Google My Maps. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Extent of Britain's global military presence revealed". Action on Armed Violence. 24 November 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b Samaranayake, Nilanthi (10 July 2020). "How a Tiny Indian Ocean Island Could Force a US-UK Rift". Defense One. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  5. ^ "RAF Recruitment | Our Bases". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  6. ^ "Director of Overseas Bases". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  7. ^ FCDO. "Human Rights Priority Countries". gov.uk. HM Government.
  8. ^ Calvert, Kevin (14 January 2019). "Supporting the British Army's capability in Kenya". GOV.UK. Inside DIO. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  9. ^ "The British Army in Africa". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  10. ^ Weir, Fiona (26 February 2016). "BATUK: Britain's Base In Kenya". BFBS. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  11. ^ Agutu, Nancy (26 January 2021). "Nyati barracks opened as Kenya, UK strengthen ties". The Star. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  12. ^ Tossini, J. Vitor (2017-05-11). "Britain and Sierra Leone – Military Partnership in West Africa". Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  13. ^ "About Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia". Commander, Navy Installations Command. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  14. ^ Edis, Richard (2004). Peak of Limuria: the Story of Diego Garcia and the Chagos Archipelago. Chippenham, UK: Antony Rowe Ltd.
  15. ^ Ladwig III; Walter C.; Andrew S. Erickson & Justin D. Mikolay (2014). Diego Garcia and American Security in the Indian Ocean (PDF). in Carnes Lord and Andrew Erickson Rebalancing US Forces: Basing and Forward Presence in the Asia Pacific. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-03.
  16. ^ "A Neo-Nixon Doctrine for the Indian Ocean: Helping States Help Themselves" (PDF). Strategic Analysis. May 2012.
  17. ^ "Rothera Research Station". British Antarctic Survey. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  18. ^ "Who We Are". British Antarctic Survey. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  19. ^ "How Top Gear's Paddy McGuiness and Freddie Flintoff Needed Gurkha Skills In The Brunei Jungle". Forces Network. 2019-07-05. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  20. ^ "UK to expand base in Oman". Janes.com. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  21. ^ "83 EAG leads UK operations in Middle East". U.S. Air Forces Central. 2018-07-16. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  22. ^ News, Nepal. "British Gurkha: Mental resilience is the key". nepalnews.com. Retrieved 2024-03-11. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  23. ^ "Armed Forces: Deployment - Question for Ministry of Defence - UIN HL7650". parliament.uk. Government of the United Kingdom. 2 September 2020. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
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  25. ^ "UK Opens Military Base in Northern Norway". The Defense Post. 8 March 2023.
  26. ^ "CIA World Factbook: Turks and Caicos Islands". Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  27. ^ "Arrival of a Security Assistance Team in TCI from the UK". Welcome to the Turks and Caicos Islands. 2020-04-23. Retrieved 2021-02-04.
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  29. ^ "TCI Regiment gets its first commanding officer". Turks and Caicos Weekly News. June 12, 2020. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  30. ^ "The status and location of the military installations of the Member States of the European Union" (PDF). Policy Department External Policies. European Parliament: 13–14. February 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  31. ^ "Fact sheet: trilateral Australia-UK-US partnership on nuclear-powered submarines". GOV.UK. Government of the United Kingdom. 13 March 2023. Retrieved 14 March 2023. Submarine Rotational Forces. As early as 2027, the United Kingdom and the United States plan to establish a rotational presence of one UK Astute class submarine and up to four U.S. Virginia class submarines at HMAS Stirling near Perth, Western Australia – this initiative will be known as 'Submarine Rotational Force-West' (SRF-West).
  32. ^ "Royal Navy's new Bahrain base seriously enhances Britain's ability to defend the Gulf". The Telegraph. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  33. ^ "The British Army in Belize". Army.MoD.uk. British Army, Ministry of Defence.
  34. ^ "New lease of life for British Army base in Belize". Forces.tv. Forces TV. 7 April 2015. Archived from the original on 11 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  35. ^ a b c d "Permanent Joint Operating Bases (PJOBs)". GOV.UK. Government of the United Kingdom. 12 December 2012.
  36. ^ "The British Army in Brunei". Army.MoD.uk. British Army, Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  37. ^ "The British Army in Canada". Army.MoD.uk. British Army, Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  38. ^ "Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP)". Army.MoD.uk. British Army, Ministry of Defence.
  39. ^ "The British Army in Africa". Army.MoD.uk. British Army, Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  40. ^ "British Gurkhas Nepal". Army.MoD.uk. British Army, Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
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  44. ^ "Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opens UK facility on UAE air base".
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External links[edit]