RAF Marham is located south-east of King's Lynn in Norfolk. It is home to front-line squadrons of Tornado GR4 aircraft as well as the new F-35B Lightning II aircraft which began arriving in 2018 to form 617 Squadron. Note that all Tornado Squadrons have now disbanded (14.3.2019).
RAF Marham Satellite View
It is also home to the Tactical Imagery-Intelligence Wing, the Tornado GR Force HQ, No.3 (RAF) Force Protection Wing HQ, No. 93 Expeditionary Armament Squadron, No.2620 (County of Norfolk) Sqn RAuxAF Regiment, and a plethora of engineering support functions ranging from deep maintenance to front line support.
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RAF Marham Scanner Frequencies:
Approach - 124.150, 233.075
Director - 377.475
Radar - 298.825, 234.325
Tower - 281.150, 119.975
Ground - 389.400
ATIS - 277.225
Aircraft & Squadrons
RAF Marham is home to No.138 Expeditionary Air Wing (138 EAW) which consists of the frontline squadrons of the RAF's Tornado Force which includes two squadrons of Tornado GR4/GR4A (IX Sqn & 31 Sqn).
The GR4A is a reconnaissance variant of the Tornado but the original reconnaissance equipment that it used is now obsolete, however the modern reconnaissance equipment (RAPTOR pod) used on the Tornado is interchangeable between the GR4 and GR4A variants.
The Tactical Imagery-Intelligence Wing, who are responsible for the processing and exploitation of fast-jet electro-optical imagery, on deployed operations, exercises and routine training, are also based here. It is also home to No. 93 Expeditionary Armament Squadron, No.2620 (County of Norfolk) Sqn RAuxAF Regiment, and a plethora of engineering support functions ranging from deep maintenance to front line support.
The Tornado GR4 will retire from service in early 2019 and 31 Squadron will stand down but will in due course reform to operate the Protector RG.1. IX Squadron will operate the Typhoon FGR4 at RAF Lossiemouth by April 2019.
IX Squadron - Tornado GR4/GR4A.
• 12 Squadron - Tornado GR4/GR4A.
• 31 Squadron - Tornado GR4/GR4A.
617 Squadron - F-35B Lightning II.
All Tornado Squadrons have now disbanded (14.3.2019)
There has been extensive infrastructure changes across the base for the F-35B Lightning II aircraft which began arriving in 2018
. The F-35B Lightning II is a 5th Generation, multi-role, stealth fighter.
RAF Marham was opened in 1916 and was a military night landing ground. The aerodrome was later handed over to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).
It was closed in 1919 until 1935 when work on a new airfield started and it became active in 1937 with a resident heavy bomber unit from 3 Group, RAF Bomber Command. Aircraft included the Fairey Hendon bomber, Handley Page Harrow, and Wellingtons. In 1941, the Wellingtons moved out and Mosquitos arrived which became part of the Pathfinder force. In 1944, RAF Marham closed while new concrete runways, perimeter track, and dispersal areas were built.
After the Second World War, RAF Marham operated the Boeing Washington aircraft, and later the Vickers Valiant & Handley Page Victor (V Bombers). The station was large enough for the operation of USAF Boeing B-52 aircraft which visited in the 1970s and 1980s for exercises.
Twenty four Hardened Aircraft Shelters were constructed to house the Tornado which arrived in 1982. Each shelter was able to store four WE.177 nuclear bombs.
The new F-35B 'Lightning II' fleet will be based at RAF Marham from 2018 and the base is currently undergoing enhanced infrastructure to support these aircraft. The F-35B will be operated by 617 Squadron RAF, 809 Naval Air Squadron (Fleet Air Arm), an unnamed RAF Squadron, an unnamed Naval Air Squadron, 207 OCU Squadron RAF, and 17 Squadron RAF (Operation and Evaluation, currently based at Edwards AFB, USA). RAF Marham will have a mix of Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel, and both will deploy aboard the new Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers
In the Summer of 2018, F-35s and personnel of 617 Squadron will arrive at RAF Marham. They will then undergo an intense phase of training to be able to declare a land-based Initial Operational Capability by the end of the year. The Lightning OCU, 207 Squadron will follow and occupy new buildings adjacent to the new Dambusters facilities at the Norfolk base in due course. In the UK, 207 (OCU) Squadron will initially operate five to six aircraft and within about two years have a full complement of eight F-35Bs.
With no two-seat F-35s the training of pilots is heavily reliant upon simulators. Fortunately, the F-35 Full Mission Simulator allows you to train everything from the most basic skills, all the way up to teaching and assessing students in tactical formations against potent enemy threats.
The RAF Tornado will be withdrawn from service on 31st March 2019, and will bring to an end four decades of service, during which the aircraft has formed the backbone of UK airpower. RAF Tornados returned home from Operations for the last time on 5th February 2019. Their last operational sortie took place from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus on Thursday 31st January. This marked the end of over 28 years almost continual Operational deployment for the Tornado Force.
Three training variants of the Tornado have received special markings including a camouflage scheme which the Tornado sported in its early career. These three Tornados took off from RAF Marham, on Wednesday 23rd january 2019, and refuelled over the North Sea before being photographed via a fourth RAF Tornado and then returning back to Marham. For more information and photographs then click here
. There will also be a Tornado Farewell Flypast over three days on Tuesday 19th February 2019, Wednesday 20th February 2019, and Thursday 21st February 2019, as well as a nine-ship Tornado flypast on Thursday 28th February 2019. Flypast times, NOTAMS and a map of the route for each day can be found here
• RAF Tornado Farewell Flypasts.