The Station

RAF Boulmer is situated near Alnwick, the county town of Northumberland.  Part of 2 Group, it is a key station of the RAF's Air C2 Force, providing surveillance of UK airspace and tactical control of combat and support aircraft.

The core to RAF Boulmer's operations is its Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS), which is used to defend UK airspace and train for contingent operations.

Number 19 Squadron provides operations personnel to conduct this task 24/7, while Number 20 Squadron is the ASACS Operational Conversion Unit.  Both Squadrons are supported by the engineers and technicians of 144 Signals Unit, and the staff of RAF Boulmer Station.

Around 1,000 Service, civilian, and contracted personnel work at RAF Boulmer.

Always the vigilant sentry


Wing Commander Charlotte Best BSc(Hons) MA Chartered MCIPD RAF

Wing Commander Charlotte Best commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 2005 as an Administrative Officer, now known as People Operations Officers.

In 2013 she was appointed Officer Commanding Force Development Squadron at RAF Boulmer and later became Officer Commanding Personnel Management Squadron.

In 2018 she deployed to Kabul as Military Assistant to Deputy Commander NATO Air Command. She was appointed SO1 Personal Support RAF and in 2022 she was appointed Station Commander RAF Boulmer.

Who's based here




Where we parent


Operational as an Air Defence unit for 60 years, the RAF has had a presence in the area since 1940, when land near Boulmer was used as a decoy airfield to draw attacking Luftwaffe aircraft away from the nearby operational airfield at RAF Acklington. However, as the air threat to the UK receded, the decoy airfield was abandoned. 

In 1953, the onset of the Cold War caused the Royal Air Force to look anew at its defences and Boulmer was selected for the construction of an air defence control centre equipped with new radar and control facilities. 

In 1957 Boulmer was designated a Group Control Centre, this gradually increased in importance and by 1974 the Station had evolved to become both a Sector Operations Centre and Control and Reporting Centre. 

The role of RAF Boulmer was expanded in 1975 with the arrival of 'A' Flight 202 Squadron in the Search and Rescue role, providing 37 years of Search and Rescue at RAF Boulmer. 

In 1990, Boulmer saw the arrival of the School of Fighter Control from RAF West Drayton. In 2009 the Fighter Control Branch was rebranded as Aerospace Battle Management, and the School of Fighter Control became the School of Aerospace Battle Management. 

RAF Boulmer has played a key role in UK air defence for 60 years with continuous improvements to its systems and radars during a series of extensive refurbishment programmes.

Key dates

1940    RAF presence established at Boulmer as a decoy 'K' airfield.

1943    Spitfires of 57 OTU's Advanced Training Squadron arrive for pilot training.

1953    Establishment of 500 Signals Unit, with radars and underground operations rooms.  RAF Boulmer becomes a RAF Station in its own right.

1962    'Border Radar' Air Traffic unit forms at RAF Boulmer.

1975    'A' Flight of 202 Squadron arrive to perform Search and Rescue duties with Whirlwind and then Sea King helicopters.

1990    Arrival of the School of Fighter Control from RAF West Drayton.

1995    Establishment of Number 1 Air Control Centre as a deployable radar and tactical control unit.

2004    RAF Boulmer becomes the primary 24/7 Control and Reporting Centre for UK airspace.

2012    Air defence operations for the London Olympic Games.

2021    Allocation of 19 and 20 Squadron numbers to the Control and Reporting Centre and Operational Conversion Unit.

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