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RAF Fairford

RAF Fairford
Boeing B-52H Stratofortress taxis along the flight line at RAF Fairford
Military structure
NameRAF Fairford
TypeRoyal Air Force station
In use1953--present
Royal Air Force
Controlled byRoyal Air Force
Garrison420th Air Base Group
CommandersColonel Joseph 'Camel' Dill

RAF Fairford

Airport information
Airport typeMilitary
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorUnited States Air Force
Elevation87 m (286 ft)

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RAF Fairford is a Royal Air Force station in Gloucestershire, England. It is a standby airfield, not in everyday use. Its most prominent use in recent years has been as an airfield for United States Air Force B-52s during the 2003 Iraq War, Operation Allied Force in 1999, and the first Gulf War in 1991. It is "the USAF's main bomber airfield in the European theatre".

On the 15 September 2009 it was announced that the USAF will withdraw from the airfield with the aim to pull out all uniformed staff from the station by September 2010, after which it will be run on a "care and maintenance" basis. However RAF Fairford will remain a designated standby airfield, capable of immediate reactivation within 24 48 hours as well as continuing with its role for the Royal International Air Tattoo.

RAF Fairford was the only TransOceanic Abort Landing site for NASA's Space Shuttle in the UK. As well as having a sufficiently long runway for a shuttle landing (the runway is 3046 m long), it also had NASA-trained fire and medical crews stationed on the airfield.

RAF Fairford is also the home of the Royal International Air Tattoo, an annual air display. RIAT is one of the largest airshows in the world, with the 2003 show recognised by Guinness World Records as the largest military airshow ever, with an attendance of 535 aircraft.

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