RAF Mildenhall engineer

With the US Air Force (USAF) having announced that its departure from RAF Mildenhall is to be delayed by two years, we look at the facts and figures behind the base.

Mildenhall has been in a state of flux since the US announced in 2015 that it would leave its historic home.

Around 4,000 US and UK nationals work at the base, with the USAF estimating it was worth $331m (£219M) to the local economy in 2013-14.

So it holds more than just sentimental value for the thousands of UK and US staff currently attached to it.

US F-15E Strike Eagle RAF Mildenhall
RAF Mildenhall and its sister base RAF Lakenheath have the largest US Air Force presence in the United Kingdom

The range of air units assigned to RAF Mildenhall includes everything from special operation wings to air squadrons which support air mobility in Africa and Southwest Asia. The missions are undertaken by the following primary units:

  • 100th Air Refueling Wing - RAF Mildenhall's current host wing and the only permanent U.S air refuelling wing in European theatre, running since February 1992.
  • 501st Combat Support Wing - Operational at Mildenhall since May 2005, it's a non-flying unit that provides admin and operation for the various smaller Air Force units scattered across the UK.
  • 352d Special Operations Wing (AFSOC) - Responsible for infiltration, extraction and resupply operations in hostile territories.
  • 95th Reconnaissance Squadron (ACC) - Conducts real-time intelligence, information warfare and combat support to leadership and commanders.
  • 488th Intelligence Squadron (ACC) - Provides support to tactical warfighters and decision-makers.
  • 727th Air Mobility Squadron (AMC) - The 727th AMS provides air-mobility support for Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia.
  • Fleet Industrial Supply Center Sigonella, Detachment Mildenhall (FISCSI Mildenhall) This US Navy detachment provides fleet support in the UK and Northern Europe, including receiving and shipping high-priority parts and mail

The main planes that make up the largest United States Air Force presence in the UK:

RAF Mildenhall KC-135R Stratotankers
Seven KC-135R Stratotankers on the RAF Mildenhall taxiway

15 Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers are currently based at RAF Mildenhall and together provide the only permanently-assigned air refuelling operation in Europe.

RAF Mildenhall CV-22 Osprey
A CV-22 Osprey outside building 550 at RAF Mildenhall

10 CV-22B Ospreys provide aerial support to 352 Special Operations Group.

More: White Helmets Bid Farewell To Their Hometown

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