The Station

Note the airspace above and around RAF Northolt will soon be changing. 

RAF Northolt in west London is used by both military and civilian aircraft and is home to units from all three Armed Services and the Ministry of Defence. 

RAF Northolt plays an important royal role with both 32 (The Royal) Squadron and 63 Squadron RAF Regiment (Queen’s Colour Squadron) based on the Station. 

2,000 service personnel (from all 3 Armed Forces), civil servants, and contractors work at RAF Northolt.

Commander

Group Captain Jonathan T W Hough ADC MA BSc RAF

Jonathan Hough joined the Royal Air Force in 1994 having graduated from the University of Bath reading aeronautical engineering. His career commenced at Royal Air Force Lyneham flying the C130K Hercules transport aircraft with No 47 Squadron.

As a Squadron Leader, Hough commanded a Flight on 47 Squadron and was on the Number 2 Group Board of Inquiry into the loss of the Hercules aircraft XV179 that was shot down in Iraq. As a Wing Commander he commanded LXX Squadron, the Operations Wing at Royal Air Force Lyneham and 906 Expeditionary Air Wing in the Middle East. He was also the Deputy Defence Advisor to Canberra and the Defence Adviser to Port Moresby. He has served numerous times in the Ministry of Defence Main Building in Whitehall, London, ranging from Air Force strategy, Defence operational planning and crisis.

Latterly, as a Group Captain, he has served as the Assistant Head of Current Defence Commitments and Crisis; providing ministerial and senior-level military strategic advice on the employment and prioritisation of all Defence commitments and crisis, and then directing it. This included Defence response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After which he deployed to the Middle East as an embed with the United States Armed Forces. Group Captain Hough has also been the Senior Air Staff Officer Number 1 Group at Headquarters Air Command, Royal Air Force High Wycombe. In this role he managed the change from the ‘Binbrook Model’ to the ‘Wittering Model’, subsuming the Air Mobility Force into the Group. In the Summer of 2023, Group Captain Hough took Command of RAF Northolt; a long-term aspiration and dream come true.

Jonathan coaches his local U16 girls’ rugby team and is the Deputy Director of Royal Air Force Community Rugby Union. He has previously represented the RAF on the Cresta Run and is a Joint Services Mountain Expedition Leader. Jonathan is married and has 2 children; the latter 2 share Jonathan’s enthusiasm for playing rugby and scaring themselves Alpine skiing.

Who's based here

Key dates

  • 1915 - Opened as Royal Flying Corps' Military School, Ruislip.
  • 1940 - The Station plays a key role in defending the UK during the Battle of Britain and was home to Polish fighter Squadrons.
  • 1946 - RAF Northolt acts as London Airport during the construction of Heathrow.
  • 1954 - Reverts to sole military use.
  • 1995 - 32 (The Royal) Squadron is formed and moves to RAF Northolt and remains the home of UK Government and VIP transport to this day.
  • 2012 - RAF Northolt becomes a fighter station again during the Olympics, home to four Typhoon fighter aircraft.

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