The Station

RAF Boulmer is situated near Alnwick, the county town of Northumberland.  Part of 2 Group, it is a key station of the RAF's Battlespace Management Force, providing surveillance of UK airspace and tactical control of combat and support aircraft.

The core to RAF Boulmer's operations is its Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS), which is used to defend UK airspace and train for contingent operations.

Number 19 Squadron provides operations personnel to conduct this task 24/7, while Number 20 Squadron is the ASACS Operational Conversion Unit.  Both Squadrons are supported by the engineers and technicians of Engineering and Logistics Wing, and the staff of Support Wing.

Around 1,000 Service, civilian and contracted personnel work at RAF Boulmer.

"Always the vigilant sentry"


Wing Commander Charlotte Best BSc(Hons) Assoc CIPD RAF

Wing Commander Charlotte Best commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 2005 as an Administrative Officer, now known as People Operations Officers.

In 2013 she was appointed Officer Commanding Force Development Squadron at RAF Boulmer and later became Officer Commanding Personnel Management Squadron.

In 2018 she deployed to Kabul as Military Assistant to Deputy Commander NATO Air Command. She was appointed SO1 Personal Support RAF and in 2022 she was appointed Station Commander RAF Boulmer.

Who's based here

Where we parent

Key dates

  • 1940    RAF presence established at Boulmer as a decoy 'K' airfield.
  • 1943    Spitfires of 57 OTU's Advanced Training Squadron arrive for pilot training.
  • 1953    Establishment of 500 Signals Unit, with radars and underground operations rooms.  RAF Boulmer becomes a RAF Station in its own right.
  • 1962    'Border Radar' Air Traffic unit forms at RAF Boulmer.
  • 1975    'A' Flight of 202 Squadron arrive to perform Search and Rescue duties with Whirlwind and then Sea King helicopters.
  • 1990    Arrival of the School of Fighter Control from RAF West Drayton.
  • 1995    Establishment of Number 1 Air Control Centre as a deployable radar and tactical control unit.
  • 2004    RAF Boulmer becomes the primary 24/7 Control and Reporting Centre for UK airspace.
  • 2012    Air defence operations for the London Olympic Games.
  • 2021    Allocation of 19 and 20 Squadron numbers to the Control and Reporting Centre and Operational Conversion Unit.


RAF Boulmer has been operational as an Air Defence unit for over 60 years.

From 1941 the enemy air threat to the UK reduced and the RAF expanded which led to more Training School and Operational Training Units (OTUs). In 1942 the decoy airfield at Boulmer was upgraded to full airfield status which acted as a 'Relief Landing Ground' until it fell into disuse at the end of the 1960s.

As the Cold War set in, RAF Boulmer was selected to host a new hardened, underground air defence Control and Reporting Centre and associated radars and communications. In 1953 RAF Boulmer opened as a Station in its own right with the establishment of Number 500 Signals Unit.

From 1962 an Air Traffic unit was also established at Boulmer; 'Border Radar' operated until the late 1980s.

In the 1990s, RAF Boulmer saw the arrival of the School of Fighter Control (SFC) and the establishment of a deployable radar and tactical control unit, Number 1 Air Control Centre (1ACC).

In 2004, RAF Boulmer became the main Control and Reporting Centre for the entire UK and in 2021 it was honoured to have the Control and Reporting Centre allocated Number 19 Squadron.

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