united kingdom Long Kesh

Lisburn, Northern Ireland
United Kingdom




Satellite and aerial maps of Long Kesh with nearby locations


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KmBearing
11.9 40 Musgrave Park Hospital, Northern Ireland
14.7 21 Divis, Northern Ireland
15.1 38 Royal Victoria Hospital, Northern Ireland
16.9 36 Crumlin Road Gaol, Northern Ireland
18.6 43 Harland and Wolff, Northern Ireland
19.3 41GBBEL Belfast Harbour, Northern Ireland



1941 to 1979

54 29 15 secs N - 6 6 W
2nm SW of Lisburn
ICAO: IATA:
Elevation: 125 feet


History of this Location


Building work at RAF Long Kesh commenced in Nov 1940 and led to the opening of the airfield by the Royal Engineers in Nov 1941. It was first used for training in low-level close support during army exercises. With RAF Maghaberry as its satellite, it carried on a low-level role into 1942. The RAF airfield finally closed in 1946, being kept under care and maintenance until 1948 when it was then handed to the British Army as a REME vehicle depot.

From 1971 parts of the land became the Long Kesh Detention Centre and from 1976 the notorious H-blocks were built as part of HMP Maze.

The airfield remnant, adjacent to HMP Maze, was used by the AAC between 1972 and 1979.

The first six Sioux helicopters to be based there were moved from their Soltau base in West Germany as the situation in Northern Ireland deteriorated. The 657 Squadron machines were flown from Hannover to Aldergrove in two RAF Belfast transports on 14 and 15 Feb 1972. Within two hours they were re-assembled and ready to fly to the detachments new home.

At first (summer 1972) Long Kesh was used by a mixture of 5 Scout and 5 Sioux helicopters (661 Sq), with 659 and 660 Squadrons in 1973. From 1976 onwards these gave way to a regular rotation of six Scouts and six Gazelles. The last detachment left in 1979, with the formation of the Northern Ireland Regiment.

The Maze prison remained open until 2000.

The Ulster Aviation Society moved its fine museum here from Langford Lodge in 2004/2005, occupying in hangars on the north west of the site.

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List of units at Long Kesh

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YearsRotary Wing Aircraft Unitbold : Current Model
normal: Unit no longer at this base
2016/    AANIEC135 2016/   
1978/79659 SquadronScout ??/81
1976/78661 SquadronLynx 1978/93
SA341B Gazelle AH.1 1977/00
Scout 1969/79
1976/77658 Squadron
1976654 SquadronWAH-64 Apache ??/14
SA341B Gazelle AH.1 ??/07
1975/76652 SquadronScout 1969/81
1975659 SquadronScout ??/81
1974659 SquadronScout ??/81
1974/75654 SquadronWAH-64 Apache ??/14
SA341B Gazelle AH.1 ??/07
1974/75652 SquadronScout 1969/81
1973660 SquadronScout 1969/77
Sioux 1969/75
1973655 SquadronScout ??/82
1973/74669 SquadronScout 1971/81
1972657 SquadronSioux 1969/78
Scout 1969/78
Lynx AH9A ??/18






List of aircraft and events at Long Kesh

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DatesOrg/TypeUnit
2009-may-27 ExhibitIE Aer Chór na hÉireannSA316B Alouette III202
2011-jun-11 ExhibitIE Aer Chór na hÉireannSA316B Alouette III202
2011-jun-11 ExhibitRoyal Air ForceWessex HC.2XR517
2014-mar-03 PreservedScout AH.1XV136
2014-jul-29 ExhibitRoyal Air ForceSA330E PumaXW222
2017-jun UK Air AmbulancesEC135T1G-NHEM
2017-sep-19 UK Air AmbulancesEC135T1G-NIHM



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