The Info List - RAF Marham

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Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
Marham, or more simply RAF Marham
(IATA: KNF, ICAO: EGYM), is a Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
station and military airbase near the village of Marham
in the English county of Norfolk, East Anglia. It is home to No. 138 Expeditionary Air Wing (138 EAW) and, as such, is one of the RAF's "Main Operating Bases" (MOB). No. 138 EAW primarily consists of two squadrons of Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado
GR4/GR4A multi-role fast-jet ground-attack aircraft. The station crest depicts a glaring blue bull, symbolic of a deterrent and awarded in 1957 with the arrival of nuclear capability; the station motto is simply Deter. The crest also figures in the name of RAF Marham's local radio station - Blue Bull Radio 1278 AM. In 2008 RAF Marham
was officially granted the Freedom of the City of Norwich
and, as such, is allowed to march through the streets of Norwich
with 'bayonets fixed'; this is usually carried out on occasions such as the annual Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
parade held on 12 September every year. RAF Marham
'took over' the Freedom of the City of Norwich
after the former holder, RAF Coltishall
RAF Coltishall
was officially closed in 2006.


1 History

1.1 Beginnings 1.2 Rearmament 1.3 Postwar

2 Current units and operations

2.1 Royal Air Force 2.2 British Army 2.3 Civilian

3 Future

3.1 F-35B Lightning II 3.2 Project Anvil

4 Supported units 5 Former squadrons 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

History[edit] Beginnings[edit] Opened in August 1916 close to the former Royal Naval Air Station Narborough, later RAF Narborough, the Marham
base was originally a military night landing ground on an 80-acre (320,000 m2) site within the boundary of the present day RAF Marham. In 1916, the aerodrome was handed over to the Royal Flying Corps
Royal Flying Corps
(RFC). The aerodrome was closed in 1919 when the last units moved out. Rearmament[edit]

The new concrete runways viewed in 1944

In 1935 work started on a new airfield which became active on 1 April 1937, with a resident heavy bomber unit from within 3 Group, RAF Bomber Command. The first squadron, No 38, arrived in May 1937 with Fairey Hendon
Fairey Hendon
bombers. In June No. 115 Squadron RAF
No. 115 Squadron RAF
re-formed at Marham
with the Handley Page Harrow. 38 Squadron received Wellington I bombers in December 1938, followed in 1939 by 115 Squadron. The Wellingtons moved out in 1941 and Mosquitos from No. 105 Squadron arrived. Marham
became part of the Pathfinder force. They also tested and proved the Oboe precision bombing aid. During March 1944 RAF Marham
closed for the construction of new concrete runways, perimeter track, and dispersal areas, marking the end of its wartime operations. The three new runways were of the familiar wartime triangular pattern, but Marham
was one of only two sites built as a heavy bomber airfield (the other was nearby RAF Sculthorpe) with the runways 50% longer than a standard wartime layout (9,000 ft/6,000 ft/6,000 ft rather than 6,000 ft/4,000 ft/4,000 ft) and also being 200 feet wide rather than the standard 150 feet. Postwar[edit] In the postwar period the airfield was home to RAF units operating the Boeing B-29 Washington aircraft, and later the V bomber
V bomber
force and tankers: Vickers Valiant
Vickers Valiant
and Handley Page Victor. The station is also one of the few large enough for the operation of United States Air Force Boeing B-52, and a number of these aircraft visited on exercises in the 1970s and 1980s. During 1980-82 24 Hardened Aircraft Shelters were constructed to house future strike aircraft, which would eventually see the arrival of the Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado
in 1982. These shelters were equipped with the US Weapon Storage Security System (WS3), each able to store 4 WE.177 nuclear bombs.[2] No. 138 Expeditionary Air Wing (138 EAW) was formed at RAF Marham
on 1 April 2006; encompassing most of the non-formed unit personnel on the station. The EAW does not include the flying units at the station. The current Station Commander is dual-hatted; as the commander of both the EAW and Station. The station is close to the Royal Estate of Sandringham and Queen Elizabeth II is the Honorary Air Commodore
Honorary Air Commodore
of Marham[3] and has made a number of visits to the airfield,[4] most recently on 1 February 2016.[5] As part of the draw-down of the RAF's Tornado GR4 fleet, No. 12 Squadron disbanded on 14 February 2018. Squadron personnel were reassigned to Marham's other Tornado squadrons, No. 9 Squadron and No. 31 Squadron.[6] Current units and operations[edit]

Tornado GR4 in flight over RAF Marham

Current flying and major non-flying units based at RAF Marham.[7][8] Royal Air Force[edit] No. 1 Group (Air Combat) RAF

No. 9 Squadron - Tornado GR4/GR4A No. 31 Squadron - Tornado GR4/GR4A No. 93 (Expeditionary Armament) Squadron Tactical Imagery Intelligence Wing

No. 2 Group (Air Combat Support) RAF

No. 3 RAF Force Protection Wing HQ RAF Regiment

No. 2620 (County of Norfolk) Squadron (Royal Auxiliary Air Force) Regiment

Other Units

Tornado Technical Services (a joint Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
and BAE Systems team).

British Army[edit] Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
(8 Engineer Brigade, 12 (Force Support) Engineer Group)

20 Works Group Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
(Air Support)

534 Specialist Team Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
(Airfields) (STRE)[9]


RAF Marham
Aero Club - Cessna 150

Operations at Marham
are coordinated by the Operations Wing (Ops Wg), Base Support Wing (BSW), Depth Support Wing (DSW) and Forward Support Wing (FSW). The deployable elements of the station structure form the core of No. 138 Expeditionary Air Wing. The GR4A is the reconnaissance variant of the Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado
but the modern reconnaissance equipment used on the Tornado is interchangeable between the GR4 and GR4A variants, and as such each squadron uses a mix of the two variants (the reconnaissance equipment originally used in the GR4A variant is now obsolete).[citation needed] Formerly the Tactical Armament Squadron (TAS), No. 93 (Expeditionary Armament) Squadron's mission statement is "To deliver and develop specialist, expeditionary armament capability to support UK defence policy". It has approximately 130 staff and is a sub unit of No. 42 (Expeditionary Support) Wing. Future[edit]

A RAF F-35B Lightning II over RAF Marham
during July 2016 with the construction site of the Lightning Maintenance and Finish Facility visible below.

F-35B Lightning II[edit] The Ministry of Defence announced in March 2013 that the British fleet of Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
F-35B Lightning II aircraft, which is to be operated jointly by the RAF and Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, will be based at RAF Marham.[10] The Lightning is a fifth-generation short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) multi-role aircraft designed to operate from the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. The first aircraft are expected to arrive at Marham
in mid-2018 and will be operated by No. 617 (Dambusters) Squadron. In 2023 the second squadron, No. 809 Naval Air Squadron
809 Naval Air Squadron
will also form at the station. At least two further operational squadrons are expected to be established, one for each service, all of which are expected to be based at Marham. The RAF announced on 5 July 2017 that No. 207 Squadron will be the Operational Conversion Unit for the Lightning II. The squadron is expected to stand up at Marham
on 1 July 2019.[11] Project Anvil[edit] Project Anvil is the £250 million programme of investment to provide Marham
with new and upgraded infrastructure for Lightning II operations.[12] Contracts for enabling works, worth £25 million and undertaken by Balfour Beatty
Balfour Beatty
and Henry Brothers were signed in April 2016 with work commencing in May 2016. These works involved demolition of hangar no. 3 located on the north side of the airfield. The hangar dated from the 1930s and was last used for Tornado depth engineering. In its place will be the new Lightning Maintenance and Finish Facility.[13] Other enabling work involved demolition of squadron offices in the south-west hardened aircraft shelter (HAS) site, upgrading of Marham's high voltage power supply and the installation of new service utilities. In late 2016 Wates Construction Ltd were awarded a £27 million contract to construct a new squadron building for No. 617 Squadron in the south west HAS site. Construction began in March 2017 and is expected to be completed by April 2018.[14] The Lightning National Operating Centre (NOC) was constructed on the north-west side of the airfield, near the station golf course. The NOC will accommodate around 125 personnel who will form the Lightning Force Headquarters and Logistics Operating Centre.[13] The NOC was opened by Queen Elizabeth II, the station's Honorary Air Commodore, on 2 February 2018 and was the first Protect Anvil building to be completed.[15]

The Lightning Integrated Training Centre under construction during 2017.

Balfour Beatty
Balfour Beatty
were awarded a contract worth £82.5m in April 2016 to construct a joint Lockheed Martin/ BAE Systems
BAE Systems
Lightning European Maintenance Hub. The hub will comprise an Integrated Training Centre (ITC); the Logistics Operations Centre and a Maintenance and Finishing Facility (M&F) across three separate sites at Marham.[16] The ITC will be located on the south side of the airfield and provide maintainer training and accommodate the Lightning Full Mission Simulators.[13] The final construction contracts, worth £135m, were awarded to Galliford Try
Galliford Try
and Lagan Construction in June 2017. The work includes construction of a new hangar to replace hangar no. 1, rebuilding of Marham's runways, installation of vertical landing pads, new taxiways and refurbishment of 90% of existing taxiways and airfield operating surfaces.[17] Both runways were rebuilt during a three-week period (8–28 September 2017), which saw all flying cease and the laying of more than 18,000 tonnes of new asphalt.[18][19] Project Anvil also includes construction of servicing platforms and refurbishment of hardened aircraft shelters (HAS). Facilities for the OCU are to be located between the No. 617 Squadron HAS site and Integrated Training Centre.[13] Supported units[edit] RAF Marham
is the 'parent' station of

RAF Holbeach
RAF Holbeach
Bombing Range RRH Neatishead (formerly parented by RAF Coltishall)

Former squadrons[edit]

RAF Canberra PR9 from 39(1PRU) Squadron RAF

Squadron Present Aircraft

No. 12 Squadron RAF 1993–1994 2015–2018

Panavia Tornado

No. 13 Squadron RAF 1994–2011 Panavia Tornado

No. 15 Squadron RAF 1950–1951 Avro Lincoln

No. 27 Squadron RAF 1983–1993 Panavia Tornado

No. 35 Squadron RAF 1951–1956 Boeing Washington, English Electric Canberra

No. 38 Squadron RAF 1937–1940 Fairey Hendon, Vickers Wellington

No. 39 Squadron RAF 1993–2006 English Electric Canberra.[20]

No. 44 Squadron RAF 1946–1951 Avro Lincoln, Boeing Washington

No. 49 Squadron RAF 1961–1965 Vickers Valiant

No. 51 Squadron RAF 1917–1919 RAF F.E.2b

No. 55 Squadron RAF 1966–1993 Handley Page Victor

No. 57 Squadron RAF 1951-1951 Avro Lincoln, Boeing Washington

No. 57 Squadron RAF 1966–1986 Handley Page Victor

No. 90 Squadron RAF 1950–1956 Avro Lincoln, Boeing Washington, English Electric Canberra

No. 100 Squadron RAF 1976–1982 English Electric Canberra

No. 105 Squadron RAF 1942–1944 de Havilland Mosquito

No. 109 Squadron RAF 1943–1944 de Havilland Mosquito

No. 115 Squadron RAF 1937–1941 Fairey Hendon, Handley Page Harrow, Vickers Wellington

No. 115 Squadron RAF 1950–1957 Avro Lincoln, Boeing Washington, English Electric Canberra

No. 139 Squadron RAF 1942–1943 De Havilland Mosquito

No. 148 Squadron RAF 1956–1965 Vickers Valiant

No. 149 Squadron RAF 1950-1950 Avro Lincoln

No. 207 Squadron RAF 1951–1956 Boeing Washington, English Electric Canberra

No. 207 Squadron RAF 1956–1965 Vickers Valiant

No. 214 Squadron RAF 1956–1965 Vickers Valiant

No. 214 Squadron RAF 1966–1977 Handley Page Victor

No. 218 Squadron RAF 1940–1942 Vickers Wellington, Short Stirling

No. 242 Squadron RAF 1959–1964 Bristol Bloodhound
Bristol Bloodhound
surface-to-air missile

No. 617 Squadron RAF 1983–1994 Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado

No. 231 OCU

No. 232 OCU

Handley Page Victor
Handley Page Victor

See also[edit]

Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
station List of Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
stations List of Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
aircraft squadrons


^ "RAF Marham
Defence Aerodrome Manual (DAM)" (PDF). RAF Marham. Military
Aviation Authority. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.  ^ Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen (November–December 2004), U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe, 1954–2004 (PDF), Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, retrieved 2009-06-11  ^ "The Queen visits RAF Marham, Norfolk, in her role as Honorary Air Commodore". British Monarchy. Retrieved 7 November 2015.  ^ "Queen visits RAF Marham". lynnnews.co.uk. Retrieved 7 November 2015.  ^ "Queen cheered on visit to RAF Marham: February 3". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 15 February 2016.  ^ "12(B) Squadron Bids Farewell to the Tornado GR4". Royal Air Force. 13 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.  ^ "Who is based here?". RAF Marham. Retrieved 16 July 2017.  ^ " Marham
Aero Club". RAF Flying Clubs' Association. Retrieved 22 July 2017.  ^ "An introduction to...20 Works Group Royal Engineers" (PDF). Wittering View. Lance Publishing Ltd.: 18 Spring 2015.  ^ "Defence Estate rationalisation update". Ministry of Defence. Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 25 March 2013.  ^ "Identity of F-35 Lightning Training Squadron Announced". Royal Air Force. 5 July 2017. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.  ^ Bishop, Chris (13 July 2017). "Project Anvil brings 1,200 jobs to Norfolk, as RAF Marham
upgrade takes off". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 4 September 2017.  ^ a b c d "News from the Lightning Basing Team" (PDF). Marham
Matters: 5. April 2017.  ^ "Wates' work on next generation aircraft base brings boost to Norfolk
economy". Wates. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.  ^ "Her Majesty the Queen Visits RAF Marham". Royal Air Force. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.  ^ " Balfour Beatty
Balfour Beatty
awarded £82.5 million F-35 contract at RAF Marham, Norfolk". Balfour Beatty. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2017.  ^ "£135M infrastructure contract marks milestone in UK F35 programme -". GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.  ^ Bishop, Chris (9 October 2017). "Runways ready for F35 Lightning jet at RAF Marham". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 19 November 2017.  ^ "News from the Lightning Basing Team". Marham
Matters: 10–11. October 2017.  ^ Disbanded on 28 July 2006, ending 55 years of RAF Canberra operations.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to RAF Marham.

Official website Gallery of Marham
images[permanent dead link] fr