The future of the Royal International Air Tattoo is assured, organisers confirmed, following the announcement by the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) that it will be restructuring RAF Fairford.
In a press release issued from RAF Mildenhall Suffolk, on September 15, the USAFE said the restructure would take place from October 1 in order to refine the command’s capability to support required missions and commitments to NATO and European allies.
It goes on to say: “RAF Fairford is a forward-operating base primarily used for bomber operations and transient missions. The base and mission will remain open, but day-to-day operations will be restructured to meet the base’s new lean operations status.
“The USAFE commander made this decision after reviewing a detailed study of the RAF Fairford mission, facilities and manning. This review highlighted an opportunity to maximize combat effectiveness while prudently using taxpayers’ money.
“Headquarters USAFE and 3rd Air Force – UK are working the restructuring process in coordination with the appropriate counterparts in the Ministry of Defence.
“The 420th Air Base Group at RAF Fairford will deactivate and establish the 420th Air Base Squadron. This new squadron will be realigned under the 422nd Air Base Group at RAF Croughton. The 420th Munitions Squadron, realigned under the 422 ABG July 1, will remain in place at RAF Welford.
The move will result in a change of base support functions required at RAF Fairford. The details of these changes have not yet been determined. Further information will be released upon approval of final decisions.”
Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said that despite the changes it would be business as usual for the airshow.
He said: “We work closely with US Air Force in Europe (USAFE) personnel throughout the year and enjoy very strong relations at every level.
“The Air Tattoo remains grateful for the support it has received, and will continue to receive from the USAFE in staging Europe’s largest airshow.
We fully understand USAFE’s reasons for the restructure at RAF Fairford and look forward to working more closely with the team at RAF Croughton as we plan for next year’s airshow.”