RNAS Inskip (HMS Nightjar)

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RNAS Inskip
Stanley Farm (on the left) and the radio masts at RNAS Inskip, with the Bowland Fells in the background

RNAS Inskip, or as it was otherwise known HMS Nightjar, is a former Fleet Air Arm airfield near the village of Inskip, Lancashire, England at 53°49′39″N 2°49′46″W / 53.827433°N 2.829537°W / 53.827433; -2.829537 (RNAS Inskip). It is now used as a military high frequency radio transmitting station.

In the 1980s there were Marconi 50 kW transmitters operating in the (Very Low Frequency (VLF) band, transmitting Morse code to ships close to the United Kingdom.[citation needed]

For long distance work, the shortwave bands were used, again transmitting Morse to ships mostly based on Marconi transmitters, typically 10 kW or less. The same information would be transmitted on different frequencies and it was the ship's responsibility to find the correct frequency to monitor. This was because of the different propagation characteristics of the various frequencies used.

The site has also been used to store natural, purified uranium ore (known as yellowcake) as part of the UK's reserve of such material.[citation needed]


The following units were based at RNAS Inskip:[1]

The runway was demolished in the 1970s. The concrete from it was used to help build the M55 motorway, from which the aerials can be clearly seen. Today only the smaller taxiways exist as proof of the airfield's former existence.

Sea Cadet Training Centre (SCTC) Inskip, a national training centre to the Sea Cadet Corps, was situated on the same site until its closure on 31 Jan 2010, bringing to an end 68 years of uniformed presence in Inskip.[citation needed]

Current use[edit]

Transmitter station[edit]

The site is home to a high frequency transmitter station forming part of the Defence High Frequency Communications Service. The station is operated by Babcock International Group on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.[2] Prior to 2003 the site was operated by the Royal Navy.[citation needed] The current station has four aerials 600 feet (180 m) high and several other smaller aerials.

Air Training Corps[edit]

In January 2012 the former SCTC Inskip reopened as the Inskip Cadet Centre and is now the new home of Cumbria & Lancashire Wing, Air Training Corps.[3] Appropriately the Wing Headquarters Offices are situated in what was the old Watch Tower (control tower) when RNAS Inskip was a flying station.


  1. ^ "Inskip (Elswick)". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Defence High Frequency Communications Service" (PDF). High Frequency Industry Association. Babcock International Group. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  3. ^ http://www.aircadetsnorth.org/humans.txt. "Cumbria and Lancashire Wing". www.aircadetsnorth.org. Retrieved 19 September 2018.