"RAF" Fairford is currently a standby airfield and therefore not in everyday use. Its most prominent use in recent years has been as an airfield for United States Air Force B-52s during the Iraq War. It is still the US Air Force's only European airfield for heavy bombers. RAF Fairford is a forward operating base used by USAF aircraft, including the B2 stealth bomber. Air activity is expected to increase between now and 2024 as more aircraft are deployed.
“Nearly £300 million will be invested into the United States military base at RAF Fairford over the next few years, while there will also be an increase in the number of flights.”
“Plans have now been revealed for a bomber maintenance hanger [sic] for B-52s, a munitions storage facility, a deployable air base system, a rapid airfield damage repair facility and various upgrades and renovations.” (Source Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard 7 May 2021)
US U-2 spy planes took off from Fairford for reconnaissance missions over Ukraine amid growing tension between Russia and Ukraine.
“A US spy plane was spotted taking off from England last week as it embarked on another reconnaissance mission in Europe amid growing tension between Russia and Ukraine.” (Source Daily Mail 23 April 2021)
Fairford is expanding to accommodate more than 2,000 American personnel and their families over the next two years. Nearly £300 million will be invested in Fairford while there will also be an increase in the number of flights. Plans have been revealed for various upgrades including a bomber maintenance hangar for nuclear-capable B-52s and a munitions storage facility.
The US Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $2bn contract to develop the service’s next-generation stealth cruise missile. The Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile will arm B-21 Raider and B-52 Stratofortress bombers (from Fairford?), allowing them to launch missiles against targets without penetrating enemy airspace.
The 420th Air Base Squadron and 420th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron supported Baltic Trident Exercise in March, supporting several KC-135 tanker aircraft from RAF Mildenhall. (Source Defense Visual Information Distribution Service 15 March 2021)
The U.S. Air Force has awarded Raytheon a contract to develop the service’s next-generation stealth cruise missile. The Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile will arm B-21 Raider and B-52 Stratofortress bombers, allowing them to launch missiles against targets without penetrating enemy airspace. (Source: Popular Mechanics 7 July 2021)