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RAF Waddington is a Royal Air Force station in Lincolnshiremarker, Englandmarker.

Early History

Waddington opened as a Royal Flying Corps flying training station in 1916 until 1920, when the station went into care and maintenance.

It re-opened as a bomber base on 12 March 1937, with squadrons flying the Bristol Blenheim and later Handley Page Hampdens, and was in November 1940 the first station to receive the Avro Manchester heavy bomber.

In the Cold War, RAF Waddington became a Vulcan bomber base. It continued in this role until 1984 when the last Vulcan squadron, No 50, disbanded. In 1993 the last RAF Avro Vulcan bomber, serialled XH558, was retired to Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire. This aircraft has returned to display flying following prolonged refurbishment.

Present Day

It is presently home to the RAF's Sentry, Nimrod R1 and Raytheon Sentinel R1 ASTOR ground-surveillance/intelligence aircraft. The station is also home to No. 34 Expeditionary Air Wing.

There is an outdoor viewing area east of the A15 road close to the northern end of the long runway which was designed to accommodate V-bombers. Short-term visits from different NATOmarker and Swiss fighter squadrons, in the past, used to generate occasional additional noise and interest because the airfield was conveniently placed for offshore practice firing ranges above the North Seamarker. However with the closure of the aforementioned Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation range these visits have ceased. Waddington also has a very active Force Development ethos, putting emphasis on the development of its busy personnel.

No. 34 Expeditionary Air Wing was formed at Waddington on 1 April 2006 encompassing most of the non-formed unit personnel on station. The EAW does not include the flying units at the station. The station commander is dual-hatted as the commander of the wing.

The RAF Waddington structure as of April 2008 is as follows:

  • 34 Expeditionary Air Wing
  • Combat Support 2 Group
  • Other auxiliary units
    • No. 26 Sqn - Ground Based Air Defence.This unit disbanded in March 2008 following a tour in Afghanistan.
    • No. 2503 Sqn - RAuxAF Regiment Force Sustainment
    • No. 39 Sqn - UAV/MQ-9 Reaper Due to relocate at Waddington in 2011-12.It is presently at Creech AFB in Nevada.
    • Sentry Maintenance Squadron (SMS) - including the Visiting Aircraft Handling Section (VAHS)
    • The E-3D Software Support Team
    • The Red Arrowsmarker
  • Air Warfare Centre
    • 7006 Squadron RAuxAF
    • 7010 Squadron RAuxAF
    • 7630 Squadron RAuxAF

Station Commanders

Waddington International Air Show

The first RAF Waddington International Air Show was staged at RAF Waddington in 1995, after the event was moved down from RAF Finningley - an RAF station located near Doncaster which was closed down in 1995. Since then the RAF Waddington International Air Show has developed into the largest of all RAF's air shows. It regularly takes place on the first weekend in July, attracting over 120,000 visitors and representatives of Air Forces from all round the world. All proceeds from the event are distributed to the two main Service charities; the RAF Benevolent Fund and the RAF Association. 15% from all profits is donated to local worthy causes. Since the inaugural year 1995 the Air Show has raised over £2,250,000 for Service and local charities.

The 2009 Air Show took place on 4th & 5th July and saw a record crowd with over 170,000 visiting Waddington to enjoy the largest of the RAF Air Shows. The themes of the 2009 Air Show were 60 years of NATO and the 90th anniversary of the RAF Benevolent Fund.

The Organisers were very hopeful to welcome back the famous Avro Vulcan XH558; an iconic cold war bomber which was stationed at RAF Waddington during the Falklands War in the early 1980's. Unfortunately, the aircraft was unable to repeat the impressive flying display from 2008 due to CAA licensing issues. However, the 7-hour flying display featured several top national and international display teams and aircraft to ensure a thrilling experience for aviation enthusiasts and families alike.

The 2010 Air Show will take place over the weekend of 3rd & 4th July. The main themes will be "90 years since the first ever RAF air show, at RAF Hendon", "70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain" and "35 years of the Early Airborne Warning". The flying display is already promising to be truly exceptional, with aircraft and display teams that have never been to Waddington before!

Ground displays always include over 100 aircraft, 250 trade stands, two exhibition hangars and the Military Village concept where all services display, the Waddington SERE (Survive Evade Resist Extract) School display with its close RNLI association. Many clubs also feature in the Village demonstrating the diversity of exciting hobbies and interests available to personnel today.

The air show is headed by Wing Commander (Rtd) Colin Reeves OBE who has a very hardworking and successful team, devoted all year round to making the airshow weekend a hit.

Air Ambulance

The Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance is based at the airfield.

RAF Waddington Voluntary Band

RAF Waddington Voluntary band is one of 7 voluntary bands within the RAF and is proud to serve the station and the sourounding areas. Members of the band include RAF personell as a second duty, dependents, civil servants and local civilians.

See also


  • Bruce Barrymore Halpenny Action Stations: Wartime Military Airfields of Lincolnshire and the East Midlands v. 2 (ISBN 978-0850594843)

External links

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