united kingdom MoD St. Athan

St. Athan, Wales
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Satellite and aerial maps of RAF St Athan with nearby locations


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KmBearing
6.5 97EGFF Cardiff, Wales
20.3 71 Roath Basin, Wales
21.8 71EGFC Tremorfa Heliport, Wales
27.9144 RNAR Lilstock, England
35.7 61 Alexandra Docks, Wales
35.8101EGFI Weston-super-Mare, England



1938 to present

51 24 17 secs N - 3 26 9 secs W
3nm S of Cowbridge
ICAO: EGDXIATA: DGX
Elevation: 163 feet


Land east of Llantwit Major was purchased in 1936 and RAF St Athan opened as a training centre for ground based fitters and flight engineers at 4 School of Technical Training, in 1938.

Aircraft maintenance has also been a feature of the work at St Athan on RAF and RN fixed-wing aircraft, including Harriers, Sea Harriers, Hawks, Jaguars, Tornados and VC-10s. Engineering work also involved repair and overhaul of aero-engines, mechanical and structural components, as well as providing upstream design and manufacturing services.

A grand plan emerged under DARA auspices to save cost and centralise all RAF 2nd line maintenance at St Athan. MoD had declared an intent to close St Athan but the then Welsh Development Agency was suckered into buying the site from the MoD and leasing parts of it back. With this arrangement in place, DARA then committed to build the Super hangar as a state-of-the-art aircraft maintenance facility, which opened in Apr 2005. Once built, the RAF declared it had no intention of participating and consolidated all its Tornado fast jet work at Marham. With the lack of critical mass, that project began to unravel and this also spelt the end for DARA.

The Welsh Assembly was now looking for a use for the site and buildings it had inherited and was seeking to use the facilities and skills of the workforce to create an Aerospace Centre of Excellence here (it is also quite close to Cardiff International Airport).

An MoD Defence Training Review concluded this would be an ideal location for a tri-service engineering / training consolidation, which has yet to materialise.
As a result of the UKSRR SAR service main contract award from Apr 2015, Bristow has been building new SAR facilities due to transition here from 22 Squadron A Flt Sea Kings (from the RMB Chivenor site), on 1 Jul 2015.
During Apr 2015, the base was host to a number of UK helicopters during the later phases of Exercise Joint Warrior 15-1, including RAF Chinook and Puma and 846 NAS Merlin HC.3.

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List of units at RAF St Athan

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YearsRotary Wing Aircraft Unitbold : Current Model
normal: Unit no longer at this base
2015/    St. Athan sectorAW189 2017/   
AW139 2015/17
1999/08Defence Aviation Repair Agency




News about this location


500th Mission for St Athan SAR Base, 07-Sep-17 : St Athan HM Coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter team completed its 500th mission since operated by Bristow from October 2015

Bristow SAR First Year at St Athan, 04-Oct-16 : First anniversary of Bristow SAR AW139 operations on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency from St Athan

UKSAR St Athan Service Launch Ceremony, 15-Oct-15 : The launch of the St Athan civilian UK search and rescue (SAR) helicopter service was marked with a ceremony held at the new SAR base at St Athan airfield.

Bristow St Athan Conducted First SAR Sortie, 05-Oct-15 : An AW139 SAR helicopter based at St Athan in Wales carried out the first operational mission. Bristow Helicopters commenced SAR helicopter operations on behalf of HM Coastguard October 4.

Construction Began on New SAR Base at St Athan, 03-Dec-14 : Construction of a new Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter base at St Athan began. Two helicopters operated by Bristow on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will be operational from 2015






List of aircraft and events at RAF St Athan

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By Date | By Serial

DatesOrg/TypeUnit
1965-sep Stored ?Royal Air ForceDragonfly HR.3WG725
1971-dec G I AirframeRoyal Air ForceSkeeterXN341
1981 G I AirframeRoyal Air ForceWhirlwind HCC.12XR486
1982-mar-23 Royal Air ForceSA341D Gazelle HT.3XZ933
1986-may-01 Whirlwind HCC.12XR486
1999-jul-08 VisitingRoyal Air ForceSea King HAR.3AZH540
1999-jul-19 VisitingRoyal Air ForceSea King HAR.3AZH544
2004-apr-07 SA341B Gazelle AH.1XZ322
2004-apr-07 SA341C Gazelle HT.2XZ941 / B
2009-jul-31 Army Air CorpsAS365N3 Dauphin 2ZJ783
2015-oct-04 HM CoastguardAW139G-CILN
2015-nov StoredFleet Air ArmLynx HAS3ZD261
2016-feb-11 HM CoastguardAW189G-MCGP
2016-jul-29 Fleet Air ArmLynx HAS3SZF560


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