Red Arrows

Red Arrows To Remain In Lincolnshire When Current Base Closes

The Red Arrows will be staying in their home county of Lincolnshire when their current base closes in late 2022, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said.

The aerial display team have been based at RAF Scampton since 1983, apart from a five-year spell at RAF Cranwell, but will relocate to RAF Waddington within the next two years.

Waddington was identified as the only suitable new home for the Red Arrows in an Operational Safety Assessment.

The relocation is part of the MOD's £4 billion plan to upgrade its estate, facilities and infrastructure over the next decade.

The forthcoming move will now proceed on to the assessment and planning stage, the MOD said.

The airspace over RAF Scampton will be retained for Red Arrows training and display practise.

Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: "We will be sorry to leave Scampton but I am delighted the Red Arrows will remain in Lincolnshire when they move to their new base at RAF Waddington.

"The people of Lincolnshire have provided fabulous support for the Red Arrows over many years, and the team is proud to call it home."

RAF Scampton will have been home to the Red Arrows for almost 40 years when it closes its doors in 2022 (Picture: MOD).
RAF Scampton will have been home to the Red Arrows for almost 40 years when it closes in 2022 (Picture: MOD).

Air Vice-Marshal Warren James said the short-distance move offers "stability" for the Red Arrows' future endeavours.

"I am delighted that we now have confirmation that the Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team - the Red Arrows - will remain in the heart of Lincolnshire," he said.

"The Royal Air Force remains committed to the strong links it has with the county and a considerable amount of work has been carried out to secure a suitable future home location."

The closure of RAF Scampton is understood to be part of MOD cost-cutting measures announced in 2016.

The ministry is hoping to save nearly £3 billion by 2040 by reducing its built estate by 30%.

As well as hosting the Red Arrows for the majority of the past 37 years, RAF Scampton was formerly home to 617 Squadron - famous for its role in the 1943 Dambusters raids.

"There’s been some speculation for some years now about whether they would actually leave [RAF] Scampton and then potentially go to another part of the country," Councillor Michael Hill, Lincolnshire County Council Leader, said.

"So, it’s fantastic news that they will still carry on flying over the Lincolnshire skies and the air space over Scampton and Lincoln, for example.

"It’s nice to know that Lincolnshire, which is basically the home of the RAF, will continue to send the Red Arrows across the country and across the world," he added.

The MOD said it is looking at options to preserve the history of RAF Scampton after its closure.

The nine Hawk jets of the Red Arrows were last seen in action on 8 May, marking VE Day with a flypast over central London.

Defence minister Jeremy Quin said: "The Red Arrows have a proud and prominent place in British culture and have long demonstrated the best of what the UK Armed Forces offer with their world-renowned skills, discipline and teamwork.

"It is good news that we have an excellent base for them at RAF Waddington, and I am delighted that they will be able to continue to practise their extraordinary aerobatic talents above RAF Scampton in their home county of Lincolnshire."

The Red Arrows were formed in 1964 and returned to training last month following a pause over the coronavirus pandemic. 

Cover image: The Red Arrows flying over RAF Scampton (Picture: Crown Copyright).