|Near Leeming, North Yorkshire in England|
Shown within North Yorkshire
|Type||Royal Air Force station|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
|Operator||Royal Air Force|
|Group Captain Simon Reeves RAF|
|Identifiers||ICAO: EGXE, WMO: 03257|
|Elevation||40 metres (131 ft) AMSL|
The station opened in 1940 as a bomber station during the Second World War. In 1943 the station was assigned to No. 6 Group Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) with a sub-station at RAF Skipton-on-Swale. The main aircraft operated were Whitley, Stirling, Halifax and Lancaster bombers.
- No. 10 Squadron RAF between 8 July 1940 and 5 July 1942 flying the Handley Page Halifax Mks I & II.
- No. 7 Squadron RAF reformed at the airfield on 1 August 1940 with the Short Stirling I before moving to RAF Oakington on 29 October 1940.
- No. 102 Squadron RAF between 25 August 1940 and 1 September 1940 flying the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley V before moving to RAF Prestwick.
- No. 35 Squadron RAF between 20 November 1940 and 5 December 1940 using the Halifax I before moving to RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
- No. 77 Squadron RAF between 5 September 1941 and 6 May 1942 flying the Whitley V before moving to RAF Chivenor.
- No. 408 Squadron RCAF between 14 September 1942 and 27 August 1943 with the Halifax V and I before moving to RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
- 1659 HCU RAF 1941–1942
- No. 424 Squadron RCAF between 8 April 1943 and 3 May 1943 using the Vickers Wellington X before moving to RAF Dalton.
- No. 427 Squadron RCAF between 5 May 1943 and 31 May 1946 when the squadron disbanded. The squadron initially used the Halifax V and III before switching to the Avro Lancaster Mk.I and III in March 1945.
- No. 429 Squadron RCAF between 13 August 1943 and 31 May 1946 when the squadron disbanded. The squadron initially used the Halifax V and III before switching to the Avro Lancaster Mk.I and III in March 1945.
Following the war, the station became a night fighter base, equipped initially with Mosquito and then with Meteor and Javelin aircraft before becoming a Training Command airfield in 1961. The station was then home to No. 3 Flying Training School, equipped with the Jet Provost aircraft.
There were also several other units using the airfield during the same period, these were:
- 228 Operational Conversion Unit RAF 1948–1961
- No. 3 Flying Training School RAF 1961–1975
- Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron 1974–present
Leeming functioned as a training base until 1988 when it became a front line base in the air defence role equipped with Tornado F3s. Initially it hosted Nos 11, 23, and 25(XXV) Squadrons, all flying the F3.
23 Squadron was disbanded on 1 March 1994, and was reformed at RAF Waddington in 1996 flying the Sentry E3D. This left two Tornado squadrons, which were half of the air defence fighter squadrons of the RAF. 11 Squadron was disbanded in October 2005, but it re-formed at RAF Coningsby on 29 March 2007 flying the Eurofighter Typhoon F2. The last Tornado squadron at Leeming (No XXV Squadron) disbanded on 4 April 2008.
Currently, Leeming is operating as a Forward Operating Base and as a Fast Jet Turnround facility. The remaining air defence bases are RAF Leuchars in Fife, Scotland which has also exchanged its Tornado F3s for Typhoons, and since June 2007 RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire which is home to Typhoon F2s. Coningsby took over from Leeming as England's main air defence base in April 2008 when 3 Sqn became fully operational. Leeming is also home to No 11 Air Experience Flight and Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron, with four Grob Tutor aircraft stationed there.
The future of RAF Leeming following the disbandment of its remaining Tornado squadron was not clear for a period. Under current plans by the UK Ministry of Defence, Air Combat Service Support units of 2 Group and personnel from RAF Boulmer and elsewhere who were destined to move to RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire will now be stationed at Leeming due to problems with accommodation at Scampton.
It is not clear whether Leeming, which was substantially rebuilt less than twenty years ago, will continue as a flying base. However, the Red Arrows, who are also based at Scampton, are relocating to Waddington, probably by the end of the decade. A number of options are believed to be on the table. Leeming is being developed as a communications hub with No 90 Signals Unit being the resident unit. Currently two flying squadrons remain, 100 Squadron and the Northumbrian Universities Air Squadron, and there are no plans to disband or move either of these squadrons.
No. 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) was formed at the station on 1 April 2006 and encompasses most of the non-formed unit personnel. The EAW does not include the flying squadrons or any other formed units. The station commander at RAF Leeming is also the commander of the wing.
The following squadrons used RAF Leeming during the same timespan:
- No. 23 Squadron RAF RAF 1988–1994
- No. 11 Squadron RAF RAF 1988–2005
- No. 25 Squadron RAF RAF 1989–2008
The station's air traffic control unit was named the best in the Royal Air Force in February 2012, winning the Raytheon Falconer Trophy.
Leeming's gate guardian is now a Tornado F3, commemorating its history as an air defence base, and the fact that many Tornados were scrapped/Reduced To Produce here. The previous gate guardian XA634 is the world's only surviving Gloster Javelin FAW4, which spent most of its life as a testbed at the Gloster Aircraft Company and was offered for sale by tender in September 2014 by the Ministry of Defence. In December 2014 it was announced that Gloucestershire Jet Age Museum had won the tender and purchased the aircraft.
Current flying units
- No. 100 Squadron RAF 1995–
- Northumbrian UAS RAF 1974–
- 11 AEF RAF 1980–
- JFACTSU RAF 1995–
- No. 609 (West Riding) Auxiliary Squadron (Force protection) 1998–
- 34 Squadron RAF Regiment RAF 2001–
- 135 Expeditionary Air Wing
- Base Support Wing
- Administrative Squadron
- Plans and Business Squadron
- Finance Department
- Forward Support Wing
- Forward Support Sqn
- Logistics Sqn
- Operations Wing
- Operations Squadron
- Air Movements Squadron
- Airfield Support Squadron
- 90 Signals Unit
- Force Generation Wing
- Engineering Support Sqn
- Operational Evaluation and Conversion Sqn
- Operations Sqn
- Tactical Communications Wing
- 1 Field Communications (FC) Squadrons
- 2 Field Communications (FC) Squadrons
- 3 Field Communications (FC) Squadrons
- 4 Field Communications (FC) Squadrons
- 5 Information Services (IS) Squadrons
- Force Generation Wing
- 2 Force Protection Wing
- 5 RAF Police Squadron
- General Police Duties
- Protective Security Section
- Military Provost Guard Service
- Jefford 1988, p. 72.
- Jefford 1988, p. 27.
- Jefford 1988, p. 26.
- Jefford 1988, p. 54.
- Jefford 1988, p. 37.
- Jefford 1988, p. 48.
- Jefford 1988, p. 90.
- Jefford 1988, p. 91.
- History of Airfield from RAF Leeming Noise Insulation Grant Scheme survey report
- "Leeming's Air Traffic Control Squadron named best in RAF". Ministry of Defence. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- "SALE OF QTY 1 GLOSTER JAVELIN FAW 4 AIRCRAFT" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- "BBC News - Gloucestershire Jet Age Museum buys Gloster Javelin". BBC Online. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- Coupland, Peter. Straight and True: A History of Royal Air Force Leeming. London: Leo Cooper, 1997. ISBN 0-85052-569-1.
- 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, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.
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