Knowledge Sustains


MOD St Athan is a large Ministry of Defence site in the Vale of Glamorgan (southern Wales) and where the RAF’s non-aircraft, ground engineering technicians are trained.

It is home to No 4 School of Technical Training who provide continued training to personnel from all three Services and MOD civilian staff. Their mission is to deliver flexible, affordable, modern and effective technical training that meets the requirements of the UK’s Armed Forces.

St Athan is also home to the University of Wales Air Squadron.


Wing Commander Ben Trapnell MBE MEng MA CEng MRAeS RAF

Wing Commander Ben Trapnell joined the Royal Air Force in 2000 after gaining a Master of Engineering degree in aerospace technology from Bath University.

As an Engineer Officer, he has been employed in an array of specialisations including capability procurement and development, training assurance and direct support to operations within the UK and overseas.  Most of his time has been spent working with guided weapons, ground equipment and air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft.

On promotion to Wing Commander in December 2015 he became the Military Assistant to Chief of Materiel (Air) within DE&S for 3 years, before being selected for the UK Advanced Command & Staff Course in 2018, during which he gained an MA in Defence Studies from King’s College London.  He assumed command of MOD St Athan and Number 4 School of Technical Training on 13 December 2019.


MOD St Athan, Barry, CF62 4WA.

Council: Vale of Glamorgan

Who's based here

  • Universities of Wales Air Squadron


  • 1938 - Opened
  • 2006 - Renamed as Ministry of Defence St Athan
  • 2018 - Celebrate 80th Anniversary


The Station officially opened as RAF St Athan on 1 September 1938 and the first unit to take up residence was No. 4 School of Technical Training (4SofTT). In 1939, the station's activities were expanded with the arrival of a fighter group pool, the School of Air Navigation, and a maintenance unit.

During World War Two the station had over 14,000 personnel, and was used for training ground and air crew. It was linked to the aircraft storage and maintenance facility at RAF Llandow.

Between May 1947 and August 1973, St Athan was also home for the Administrative Apprentice Training School, which provided a 20 month training programme for boys who enlisted to become clerks or work in accounting, supply and administration, prior to posting to other RAF units for a 12 year term of service.

MOD Athan was the designated site for the United Kingdom's new defence training academy, but the programme was cancelled in October 2010. It once claimed to be the largest RAF station.

The base has been home to the RAF No. 4 School of Technical Training throughout its life, as well as a major aircraft maintenance unit.

St Athan has also been used to house British Army units, including the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards.

At one time it was home to a large collection of historical aircraft.

Connect with MOD St Athan