51 Squadron

Using cutting edge technology to provide strategic and tactical level intelligence.

"Swift and sure"


51 Squadron is based at RAF Waddington, at the hub of the RAF's Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance fleet.

They developed from the 1960s, as a specialist in collecting electronic intelligence; former aircraft include the Whitley, Lincoln, Canberra, Comet and Nimrod R1.  Now, the Squadron is a key support to Coalition efforts on Operation Shader.


1916   Formed at Thetford.

1948   Took part in the Berlin Airlift.

1974   The only RAF squadron to receive the Nimrod R1.

2011   Took part in Operation Ellamy.

2013   Received the RC-135W Rivet Joint.

Battle honours

1916-1918*   Home Defence 

1940-1943   Channel and North Sea 

1940*   Norway 

1940   France and Low Countries 

1940-1945*   Ruhr 

1940-1944   Fortress Europe 

1940-1945   German Ports

1940   Invasion Ports 

1940-1944   Biscay Ports 

1940-1944   Berlin 

1940-1944*   Baltic

1942   Biscay

1943*   Italy

1944-1945*   France and Germany 

1944   Normandy 

1982   Walcheren, Rhine, South Atlantic 

1991   Gulf  


2003-2011   Iraq 

2011   Libya

Honours marked with an asterisk, are emblazoned on the Squadron Standard.