RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire is the largest RAF Station with approximately 5,800 Service Personnel, 1,200 contractors and 300 civilian staff. 

The Station is home to the RAF's Strategic and Tactical Air Transport (AT) and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) forces, as well as host to many lodger and reserve units. 

With its mixed fleet of aircraft, RAF Brize Norton provides rapid global mobility in support of UK overseas operations and exercises, as well as AAR support for fast jet aircraft both on operations and in support of UK Homeland Defence.

Latest information:

Programme Future Airport

Find out about RAF Brize Norton environmental information:

Environmental Information 

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Major Accident Emergency Instructions 

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 Depicts a knight’s helmet in front of a castle gateway to symbolize the Gateway to Operations.


Group Captain Claire O'Grady ADC MA RAF

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  • 1937 - Opened as a flying training station.
  • 1944 - Nos. 296 and 297 Squadrons dropped paratroops and launched Horsa gliders during D-Day.
  • 1945 - RAF Brize Norton transferred from Flying Training Command to Transport Command.
  • 1951 - The US Air Force accepted control of the Station.
  • 1965 - The RAF took back control of the Station and it became a Transport Command airfield.
  • 2001 - First Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft arrived.
  • 2011 - The Airbus A330 Voyager arrived.
  • 2012 - Lockheed Martin C-130J arrived due to the closure of RAF Lyneham.
  • 2014 - Airbus A400M Atlas arrived. 


Construction of the airfield at the Brize Norton site began in 1935 and the official opening took place on 13 August 1937. Number 2 Flying Training School was the first unit to be stationed here, arriving on 7 September 1937.

In July 1942, the Station became the home of the Heavy Glider Conversion Unit, later renamed No 21 HGCU, which remained at RAF Brize Norton until 31 December 1945.

Between March and October 1944, the Station was used as a base for parachute and glider operations by Nos 296 and 297 Squadrons, both equipped with Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle aircraft; both Squadrons were involved in D-Day operations, and the airborne landings at Arnhem.

Flying Training Command returned to the Station with No 204 AFTS in August 1949, but their stay was only to be a short one and they left in June 1950 when the first Americans began to arrive.

The USAF formally accepted control of RAF Brize Norton on 16 April 1951, eventually basing B-36 Convair Peacemaker bombers then B-47 Stratojets at a later date. Later, on 1 April 1965 the Royal Air Force took back control of the Station.

Various iconic aircraft have been based at RAF Brize Norton, including, Airspeed Oxford, Harvard, Whitley, Albermarle, Horsa Glider, Britannia, VC-10, Belfast, Argosy, Andover, Tri-Star, Globemaster III, Hercules, Voyager and Atlas.

RAF Brize Norton has been involved in many operations including Operations CORPORATE (1982), GRANBY (1990), TELIC (2003-11), HERRICK (2001-14), SHADER (2014) and RUMAN (2017).

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