MOD St Athan

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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.


Portrait of Wing Commander Stephen R Rowley MA MSc BEng BSc MCGI CEng FRAeS CMgr FCMI RAF

Wing Commander Stephen R Rowley MA MSc BEng BSc MCGI CEng FRAeS CMgr FCMI RAF

Wing Commander Steve Rowley joined the Regular RAF in 2001 after obtaining a first class honours degree in Aircraft Structures Engineering. His career as an Engineer Officer has seen him employed in an array of specialisations, including communications, general equipment and armament engineering, training assurance, capability programme management, as well as fast jet and rotary wing aircraft engineering. 

Steve was promoted to wing commander in May 2014 and has subsequently completed assignments within the Chinook Project Team and deployed in the UK Air Component Headquarters (Qatar). He assumed command MOD St Athan and Number 4 School of Technical Training on 14 December 17.


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.

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