Who is based here?
RAF Northolt comprises 2 Wings and many other Units.
Royal Air Force Northolt
RAF Northolt's Support Wing comprises:
Personnel Management Squadron (PMS), covering Personnel Management, Accounts, Pastoral and Medical and Dental services. The Squadron is responsible for discipline and ceremonial activities on the Station and is also the focus for community support for all Northolt families.
Estates Management Squadron (EMS), covering Estate Management and Energy Conservation.
Station Management Squadron (SMS), covering General Duties, C4i, Catering contracts and the acccommodation cell.
Safety, Health and Environmental Protection, dealing with matters such as Health, Safety and Environmental Protection issues across the Station.
Force Development Squadron (FDS), covering Education, Resettlement and Physical Education.
Finance Department, headed by the Finance Manager, who is directly responsible to the Station Commander for financial advice regarding the management of the Station budget and business development.
Media and Communications, covering all aspects of community engagement, visits to the Station and heritage matters.
Comms Fleet Force HQ. The Comms Fleet Force Headquarters (CF FHQ) stood-up on 1 Oct 06 to support 32 (The Royal) Squadron. The CF FHQ core members include the Comms Fleet Tasking Agency (CFTA), the Integrated Logistics and Operations Centre (ILOC), SERCo , the Air to Air refuelling and Comms Fleet Integrated Project Team (ARC IPT). Together these sections provide all the required support for all tasking undertaken by 32 (TR) Sqn. Day to day the CF FHQ manage the availability and capability of the Comms Fleet in order for the Availability Manager (the Station Commander) to maximise CF force projection.
Other areas of Ops Wing: Operations Squadron (Operations Flight, Security Flight, Fire), Air Movements Squadron (Civilian Airhead Detachment, Shift and Air Cargo Sections) and Air Traffic Control. Operations Flight manages up to 17,500 air movements per year (a single landing or take-off is classed as one air movement) of which a maximum of 12,000 are commercial air movements.
32(The Royal) Squadron
No 32 (The Royal) Squadron celebrates its centenary in January 2016. The past 100 years of service have seen it operate aircraft from the DH2 in the First World War to the Hurricane and Spitfire in the Second World War and later the Vampire, Venom and Canberra light bomber. Netheravon in Wiltshire was the first home of the Squadron which was formed in January 1916 when it was officially stood up with a fleet of DH2s. These were rapidly deployed to the front line in France with the Commanding Officer Major L W B Rees being awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry. During the early days of the Battle of Britain, No 32 Squadron fought in the skies above Britain using the legendary Hurricane. It suffered heavy losses and was withdrawn from the frontline until 1942 but at this time the Squadron had scored more kills than any other involved in the Battle. The squadron later departed for North Africa where it joined the Desert Air Force before trading its Hurricanes for Spitfires and moving on through the Continent then onto Italy and Greece. Post World War II the Squadron flew its Spitfires in Palestine and Cyprus before updating these trusty aircraft for the Vampire and later the Venom.
In April 1995, following amalgamation with The Queens Flight, the Squadron became No 32 (The Royal) Squadron and operated the HS125, BAe146 and Wessex, Gazelle, Twin Squirrel and now the Augusta 109 helicopter types in the Communications role. For over a decade 32 Squadron has seen its aircraft constantly involved in support of operations in theatres such as the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Libya, Mali and Somalia with aircraft deployed for the duration of Operations TELIC and HERRICK in Iraq and Afghanistan
32 (The Royal) Squadron’s role today is Command Support Air Transport (CSAT) - the movement of small groups of high priority personnel or cargo by air in order to facilitate global key leadership engagement and further UK influence. The Squadron is tasked to deliver a safe, secure and responsive CSAT capability for senior military commanders, Government Ministers and occasionally the Royal Family.
In 2012 two BAe 146 QC variants were purchased as part of an Urgent Operational Requirement to provide short range intra theatre Tactical Air Transport for troops in Afghanistan. Based at Kandahar Airfield these aircraft fulfilled this role for two years before returning to the UK when Operation HERRICK ended in December 2014. The HS125s were retired from service in April 2015 leaving the Squadron with four BAe146s and one Augusta A109E helicopter to deliver its primary role of CSAT. The capabilities of the rotary and fixed wing assets complement each other to provide UK Defence with a seamless and responsive capability ensuring that the right people get to the right place at a time of their choosing.
Other Northolt-based Units
No 1 AIDU (Aeronautical Information Documents Unit)
No 1 Aeronautical Information Documents Unit (No 1 AIDU) has a mission to deliver all aeronautical information products and services to UK defence through production, partnering or acquisition to support the achievement of defence objectives.
For more than 60 years, No 1 AIDU has been at the forefront of the air cartographic world. Established in 1953 and subsequently relocated to RAF Northolt in 1957, No 1 AIDU is a specialist geospatial unit under the Assistant Chief of Staff (Foundation) wing of the Joint Forces Intelligence Group.
No 1 AIDU is charged with the production of all aspects of aeronautical data, including arrival, departure and in-flight data as well as some of the more specialised digital cockpit imagery, in accordance with the civilian Aeronautical Information Regulation and Control cycle. With an area of coverage that may be required for training missions, search and rescue sorties, areas in need of humanitarian aid and areas of military operations, it is important as ever that No 1 AIDU’s aeronautical information “rises above the rest”.
British Forces Post Office
BFPO moved to RAF Northolt from Mill Hill in 2008. It is staffed primarily by Army personnel with a small contingent of Royal Naval staff and is responsible for the distribution of mail to military bases and ships wherever they are around the world.
621 EOD Sqn, Royal Logistics Corps
621 EOD Sqn is a sub-division of 11 EOD Regiment RLC, a specialist regiment of the British Army's Royal Logistic Corps responsible for counter terrorist Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), the safe recovery or disposal of conventional munitions. The regiment also has an ammunition inspectorate role supporting the Inspector Explosives (Army). The Regiment has sub units geographically based throughout the UK to provide a nationwide high readiness response capability in support of the police.
The Queens Colour Squadron (63 Squadron RAF Regiment)
QCS are renowned for their ceremonial drill but what is less well know is that they have an operational role in support of RAF flying operations, providing protection to vulnerable airfields. In late 2008 they returned from a 6 month deployment to Afghanistan. QCS moved to RAF Northolt from RAF Uxbridge in early 2010.
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Headquarters Music Services and the Central Band of the RAF
Another unit to move to Northolt from Uxbridge is the Central Band of the RAF together with Headquarters Music Services. These two units are now settled into their new home with the Central Band enjoying purpose built rehearsal facilities. The Central Band is well known for the exceptional standard of its performances but also for the smaller sub-group "The Squadronnaires" who perform at many concerts across the country.
Service Prosecution Authority
The SPA is a tri-service unit formed from the combination of the old single service prosecution authorities. It oversees the application of service law and advises commanders of all three services on military legal matters.
600 (City of London) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force
No 600 (City of London) Squadron is one of the oldest units in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. The main role of the Squadron is Headquarters Augmentation and it provides trained personnel to support RAF and joint Headquarters within the UK and worldwide. No 600 (City of London) Squadron is established for 160 reserve personnel and training is provided in Administration, Communications, Intelligence, Operations or Logistics. A full-time staff of seven RAF personnel supports the Squadron.
RAF northolt is also home to a variety of other units, including the Naval Aeronautical Information Centre (NAIC), the Polish Records Office and the County and Regional Headquarters of the Air Training Corps.