MoD St. Athan

St. Athan , Vale of Glamorgan , Wales

united kingdom United Kingdom

Satellite and aerial maps of MoD St Athan with nearby locations

Nearby locationsKmBearing
Cardiff , Wales 6.5097EGFF
Taskforce Skirmish , Wales 7.6341
Barry Comprehensive , Wales 10.2083
Southerndown , Wales 13.8293
Royal Glamorgan Hospital , Wales 16.0010
Pentyrch , Wales 16.9040

  MoD St Athan

1938 to present

51° 24' 17'' N     3° 26' 9'' W
3nm S of Cowbridge, St. Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales
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 was also cancelled, in Oct 2010.
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.
On 1 Apr 2019, RAF St Athan became a civilian, licensed aerodrome, ICAO EGSY, replacing the former military ICAO code EGDX.

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  List of units at MoD St Athan

Years Unit
2015-    St. Athan sectorAW189, AW139,
2012-    NPASMD900 Explorer, EC135, EC145, EC135,
1999/08Defence Aviation Repair Agency

  MoD St Athan News

500th Mission for St Athan SAR Base

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

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

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

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

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

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