RAF West Freugh
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|MoD West Freugh|
|Near Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland|
Radomes and hangars at West Freugh
Shown within Dumfries and Galloway
|Type||Research Establishment and Weapons Range|
|Owner||Ministry of Defence|
Royal Air Force 1937-2001QinetiQ 2001-present
|Website||LPTA West Freugh|
RAF West Freugh opened in 1937 as an armament training camp. During the Second World War, it expanded to include training facilities for observers, navigators, and bomb aimers; and served as a base for the Bombing Trials Unit. The known history of units known at West Freugh is:
- 22 October 1939 - 10 Service Flying Training School formed. Moved November
- 4 November 1939 - 4 Air Observer School formed
- 11 January 1940 - re-designated 4 Bombing & Gunnery School
- 14 June 1941 - 4 Air Observer School reformed
- 11 June 1943 - re-designated 4 Observer Advanced Flying Unit
- 21 June 1945 - 4 Observer Advanced Flying Unit disbanded
- April 1957 - RAF West Freugh incident
- 2001 - Airfield closed, all RAF operations cease
- 2001 - operations taken over by QinetiQ
In addition to the units listed above (and with manpower possibly drawn from some of them) a Mountain Rescue Team was based at West Freugh from 1945 to 1956. After 1956 the MRT at RAF Leuchars assumed responsibility for the area covered by West Freugh. The team was part of the RAF's Mountain Rescue Service.
Satellite Earth Station
A satellite earth station is located at West Freugh and was established to receive and distribute data from the European Space Agency's ERS radar satellites. In September 2005 it was announced that the earth station at West Freugh was the first outside Canada to be certified to provide imagery from the Canadian RADARSAT commercial satellite.
In 1987, Exercise Purple Warrior forces utilised West Freugh.
In 1988 and 1990 its ranges were used to test Phalanx CIWS weapons system with depleted uranium rounds. A subsequent radiological survey of beach, sand and seawater by staff from the Atomic Weapons Establishment concluded that there was no detectable contamination.
The airfield is no longer licensed or active, however it is available for military exercises. West Freugh has also been used on several occasions for exercises by 16 Air Assault Brigade under the Exercise Joint Warrior banner.
- "MOD West Freugh". LPTA. Qinetiq. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Mull of Galloway, History, Myths & Legends
- Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
- "RADARSAT ground station in the UK officially in business". Royal Astronomical Society. Royal Astronomical Society. 25 February 2005. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
- House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 3 Apr 2002 (pt 1)
- House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 12 Dec 2002 (pt 6)
- Eklund, Dylan (7 April 2014). "Air Assault Training". RAF. Retrieved 11 January 2017.