Wattisham Flying Station

(Redirected from Wattisham Airfield)

Wattisham Flying Station, formerly Wattisham Airfield, is a British Army airfield and barracks located near the village of Wattisham in Suffolk, England. It is home to the Army Air Corps' Apache attack helicopter force. A helicopter repair facility provided by 7 Aviation Support Battalion, REME and 132 Aviation Supply Squadron, RLC is also based at the airfield.

Wattisham Flying Station
Wattisham, Suffolk in England
An Army Air Corps Apache AH1 at Wattisham Flying Station
Wattisham is located in Suffolk
Location in Suffolk
Coordinates52°07′37″N 000°57′21″E / 52.12694°N 0.95583°E / 52.12694; 0.95583
TypeArmy Air Corps airfield
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorBritish Army
Controlled byArmy Air Corps
Site history
Built1913 (1913)
In useRoyal Air Force (1939–1942 and 1946–1992)
US Army Air Forces (1942–1946)
Army Air Corps (1993 – present)
Garrison information
Airfield information
IdentifiersICAO: EGUW, WMO: 035900
Elevation86.2 metres (283 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
2,423 metres (7,949 ft) Asphalt
Other airfield facilitiesDummy landing deck
Source: UK Military AIP[1]

The RAF maintains a presence at the airfield with a section of Survival Equipment Specialists who maintain survival equipment carried by Apache aircrew, including their helmets.

The airfield covers a site of 1,072 acres (434 ha), with approximately 2,000 troops stationed on site.



Wattisham Airfield has had a long and distinguished history. First opening in April 1939, the airfield was used by the RAF before being lent to the United States Army Air Forces in 1942. After the Second World War, Wattisham became one of the UK's front-line air force fighter airfields during the Cold War, with aircraft on Quick Reaction Alert on a rotational basis with other UK fighter stations.[2]

Wattisham used to house 'B' Flight, 22 Squadron Royal Air Force with its Search & Rescue Sea King helicopters, until the privatisation of SAR provision in 2015, which led to 22 Squadron standing down. The closest SAR base under the new Bristow Helicopters contract is Lydd Airport in Kent.[3]

As of 1 November 2018, there were 852 personnel assigned to 3 and 4 Regiments and 429 to 7 Aviation Support Battalion.[4]

Apart from the military, the Anglia Gliding Club also operates from the airfield.[5] (making it the oldest serving member of Wattisham, having been there as a RAFGSA club when the RAF occupied). Also resident is No 1287 Sqn, Air Training Corps.[6]

There is a museum on site which tells the history of the airfield and this is open on Sundays during April to October.[7]

Operational units


Flying and notable non-flying units based at Wattisham Airfield.[8][9][10][11]

1st Aviation Brigade Combat Team / Army Air Corps

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

  • 7 Aviation Support Battalion
    • HQ Company
    • 71 Aviation Company (Aviation Support Company)
    • 72 Aviation Company (Contingency Company)
    • 132 Aviation Support Squadron (Royal Logistic Corps)
      The Suffolk Police helicopter and the East Anglian Air Ambulance at Wattisham.


  1. ^ "UK MIL AIP – Wattisham – AD 2 - EGUW" (PDF). UK Military AIP. No. 1 Aeronautical Information Documents Unit.
  2. ^ "Wattisham – Both Sides Of The Fence". Key Military. Retrieved 23 April 2024.
  3. ^ "New HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Base at Lydd Airport". DSL Building Services. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  4. ^ Lancaster, Mark (29 November 2018). "Army:Written question – 194616". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  5. ^ Anglia Gliding Club
  6. ^ "Air Training Corps 1287 Squadron". infolink.suffolk.gov.uk. 26 February 2021. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  7. ^ Wattisham Airfield Museum
  8. ^ "3 Regiment Army Air Corps". The British Army. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  9. ^ "4 Regiment Army Air Corps". The British Army. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  10. ^ "7 Aviation Support Battalion". The British Army. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Army Reserve Units | Ipswich Wattisham Airfield". 1 October 2023.
  12. ^ Administrator. "Apache AH-64E Attack Helicopter". Defence Equipment & Support. Retrieved 1 October 2023.