RAF Lakenheath is located north-west of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, and hosts United States Air Force units and personnel. The host wing is the 48th Fighter Wing (48 FW), also known as the Liberty Wing, which includes three Squadrons of McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle aircraft.
RAF Lakenheath Satellite View
The base is also home to the 56th and 57th Rescue Squadrons HH-60G Combat Search and Rescue helicopters, although these two Squadrons will start to re-locate to Aviano Air Base in Italy from 2017.
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RAF Lakenheath Scanner Frequencies:
Approach - 128.900, 136.500, 309.200
Departures - 250.300
Arrivals - 256.425, 279.050, 296.675
Dispatch - 244.475
Tower - 338.925
Ground - 375.450
ATIS - 356.725
Aircraft & Squadrons
RAF Lakenheath is home to the United States Air Force (USAF) 48th Fighter Wing (Liberty Wing) which consists of 492d Fighter Squadron with the F-15E Strike Eagle, 493d Fighter Squadron with the F-15C/D Eagle, and 494th Fighter Squadron with the F-15E Strike Eagle.
The F-15E Strike Eagle is an all-weather multirole two-seat strike fighter. It can be distinguished from other U.S. Eagle variants by darker aircraft camouflage and conformal fuel tanks mounted along the engine intake ramps. The F-15C Eagle is an all-weather single-seat tactical fighter designed for air supremacy in aerial combat. The F-15D Eagle is a two-seat training version.
The Liberty Wing also consists of the 56th & 57th Rescue Squadron with their HH-60 Pave Hawks, although (as of October 2017) over the next several months they will prepare to relocate their five HH-60G Pave Hawks, Guardian Angel Weapons Systems and nearly 350 personnel to Aviano Air Base, Italy.
The 48th Operations Support Squadron provides flight and airfield management, operational plans, scheduling, intelligence, life support, air traffic control, weapons and tactics, weather, training, group administration, and 48th Fighter Wing battle staff manning.
RAF Lakenheath is expected to station two F-35A squadrons, totalling 48 jets, to add to the 48th Fighter Wing's already existing F-15C and F-15E Strike Eagle jets, in 2021. Demolition will begin in 2018 followed by the beginning of constuction of projects needed to house the two new F-35A squadrons in 2019.
492nd Fighter Squadron - F-15E Strike Eagle.
493rd Fighter Squadron - F-15C/D Eagle.
494th Fighter Squadron - F-15E Strike Eagle.
56th/57th Rescue Squadrons - HH-60G Pave Hawk.
Lakenheath Warren was a Royal Flying Corps (RFC) airfield in WW1 and was used as a bombing and ground-attack range for aircraft operating from other airfields. It was abandoned in 1918 after the War.
During WW2, in 1940, Lakenheath was used as a decoy airfield and false lights, runways, and aircraft were used to help divert attacking German aircraft away from RAF Mildenhall. In 1941, hard runways were layed along with taxiways, hardstands for 36 aircraft, and the building of hangars. Lakenheath was used by RAF flying units on detachment and served as a satellite of RAF Mildenhall. Lakenheath operated Vickers Wellingtons and Short Stirling bombers. In 1943, more hangars were built for glider storage, housing 40 Horsa Gliders.
In 1945, Lakenheath was selected to be upgraded to a Very Heavy Bomber airfield operating the United States Army Air Forces Boeing B-29 Superfortresses. The existing runways were removed and new longer ones layed using 12 inches of high-grade concrete. The War ended by the time that the work was finished and RAF Lakenheath was put on a care and maintenance status. In April 1947, RAF Bomber Command returned to Lakenheath and had the runways repaired, resurfaced, and readied for operations by May 1948.
Operational control of RAF Lakenheath was transferred from the RAF to United States Air Force Europe (USAFE) at the end of 1948. The first host unit was the 7504th Base Completion Squadron which was elevated to Air Base Group (ABG) in 1950, and then to a Wing. Lakenheath became one of three main operating bases for the U.S. Strategic Air Command in the UK operating the B-29 Superfortress, and then the B-50 Superfortress and the B-47 Stratojet in 1954.
In 1959, French president Charles de Gaulle insisted that non-French nuclear capable forces should be withdrawn from France so the USAF redeployed its North American F-100 aircraft. The 48th TFW left Chaumont AB, France in 1960 and arrived at Lakenheath. RAF Lakenheath was transferred from Strategic Air Command back to USAFE. The tactical components of the 48th TFW upon arrival at Lakenheath were the 492nd, 493rd & 494th Tactical Fighter Squadrons.
The 48th TFW (Tactical Fighter Wing) operated the North American F-100 and then the F-4D Phantom II before operating the General Dynamics F-111F in 1977. Lakenheath's F-111s from the 48th TFW participated in the United States bombing of Libya in 1986. With the departure of the F-111, Lakenheath received its first McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagles in 1992. 493rd Squadron was reactivated with the F-15C/D which made the 48th TFW the largest F-15E/F-15C composite unit in the U.S. Air Force.