Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

UK Weapons Ranges status

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

UK Weapons Ranges status

Old 20th Nov 2022, 08:51
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: the far south
Posts: 568
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
UK Weapons Ranges status

Itís a long while since I have been involved with weapons ranges
I was wondering what was the current status generally considering the RAF donít drop dumb bombs anymore.
so imagine there is very little trade.

Also I am interested to know is Otterburn still a target for aircraft - is the ĎAirfieldí still there?
Is Wiley Sike still the weapons part of Spadeadam - I canít imagine what uses the range anymore.
Iím kind of surprised Spadeadam is still going Iíd assumed most of the EW training is done on the sim? Iím guessing there are still a fair few people working there and most days they donít see any trade?

Is Luce Bay still active and the trials range? If not where are Boscombe/ Warton weapons trials done these days Ė the US?

I see Pembrey is still a range - but as there are only a handful of Hawk T2s and they don't carry weapons and the SHARS are long gone Iím at a loss to imagine what uses the place apart from maybe helicopters?

In fact it looks like Tain, Holbeach, Donna and Pembrey are still active Ė Iíd have thought 2 ranges would have had more than enough slots for all possible users Ė say Holbeach and Tain to give good geographical coverage. But Iím probably missing something?

Iíd be fascinated to hear any insights on the current state of play.
typerated is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2022, 09:44
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Southern UK
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wset Freugh was mothballed some time in the late 1990's, the airfield closed and Luce Bay range was put on care and maintenance, with a handful of staff. I believe QQ can still open it on a campaign basis, but much of the kit was already very old and in poor shape by the late 90's when the airfield closed, so how capable it is now I don't know. I recall that just keeping the hard and soft targets maintained and sterile was a major undertaking, as was maintaining the platforms in the bay that had been used for Starstreak development.
Old_Slartibartfast is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2022, 10:59
  #3 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 14,061
Received 51 Likes on 24 Posts
I had a chat with one of the range safety chaps at Donna Nook earlier this year. Although it was late afternoon he said that I was the first person he’d spoken to all day. He told me that the range was used more regularly by American aircraft than it was by UK ones.
ShyTorque is online now  
Old 20th Nov 2022, 11:10
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 146
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Trust ?

We must not trust so self called 'Type Rated' until we make complete positive vetting on him. Beware.
Bueno Hombre is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2022, 11:15
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Wildest Surrey
Age: 74
Posts: 9,831
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Visited Holbeach once a few years back and that too is used more by USAF units than RAF.
Had the pleasure of watching a pair of A10s over from Germany usng the range; apparently they don't book in advance they just call up on the offchance there's a slot available.
Gone are the days of streams of RAF Harriers and Jaguars on the range; I suppose it's just Typhoons and F35s nowadays.
chevvron is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2022, 11:26
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 146
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lucky 'They' don't keep us Old Uns completely in the picture.
Bueno Hombre is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2022, 11:39
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 146
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Loose talk costs lives

There is a war on in Europe so anyone of us should not publish any truth in here .
Bueno Hombre is offline  
Old 20th Nov 2022, 12:29
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Southern UK
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Bueno Hombre View Post
There is a war on in Europe so anyone of us should not publish any truth in here .

Hard to understand how on earth activity on UK bombing ranges could possibly be connected with OPSEC regarding Ukraine. The UK is not doing anything to support Ukraine in terms of any bombing capability, as apart from anything else we just don't have any aircraft that Ukraine could operate. There are certainly OPSEC concerns around place in the UK where we are providing training for Ukrainian forces, but that training seems to be solely related to ground forces and, perhaps, air defence systems they are being given. Neither are anything to do with the weapons ranges mentioned here, with the possible exception of Luce Bay, but even that stopped being used for HVM/Starstreak development a long time ago.
Old_Slartibartfast is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2022, 11:48
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: 350/3 Compton
Age: 75
Posts: 612
Received 12 Likes on 5 Posts
I gave Pembray a call one Friday afternoon a decade or so ago, on my way to Haverfordwest in a Yak 50. They kindly allowed me a pass on the straffe panels, which I found much easier at 250 kts than 450 in the SHAR! 😈

Mog
Mogwi is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2022, 12:27
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: York
Posts: 558
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Now that the current crop of RAF operational jets don’t use practice weapons I’m surprised any of the east coast ranges are still open. With the demise of RAF EOD the Army are now clearing Cowden Range near me which will take years if they do it properly.
dctyke is offline  
Old 22nd Nov 2022, 14:48
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Location: End of Nowhere
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you really need to know, you will be able to find out from your Sqn QWI.
If you donít have a QWI, then you donít really need to know.
Flipster130 is offline  
Old 22nd Nov 2022, 17:15
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 1,555
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think Otterburn was last used for live weapons drops from jets sometime in the late 90s/early 2000s - last time I recall seeing jets in quantities was in the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but don't think they were live dropping.

Still used by the AAC.
Davef68 is offline  
Old 22nd Nov 2022, 17:45
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Near the coast
Posts: 2,184
Likes: 0
Received 44 Likes on 6 Posts
Dave

I know that 6 Sqn (Jags) dropped heavy weapons and strafed at Otterburn in 06/07.

BV
Bob Viking is online now  
Old 22nd Nov 2022, 18:09
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 42
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cape Wrath still very much used for live weapon drops from RAF FJs.
LS8C1 is offline  
Old 22nd Nov 2022, 21:15
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Here and there.
Posts: 1,062
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Old_Slartibartfast View Post
Hard to understand how on earth activity on UK bombing ranges could possibly be connected with OPSEC regarding Ukraine. The UK is not doing anything to support Ukraine in terms of any bombing capability, as apart from anything else we just don't have any aircraft that Ukraine could operate. There are certainly OPSEC concerns around place in the UK where we are providing training for Ukrainian forces, but that training seems to be solely related to ground forces and, perhaps, air defence systems they are being given. Neither are anything to do with the weapons ranges mentioned here, with the possible exception of Luce Bay, but even that stopped being used for HVM/Starstreak development a long time ago.

^^^^ PPRuNe's equivalent of " Don't tell him, Pike".
SATCOS WHIPPING BOY is offline  
Old 22nd Nov 2022, 21:48
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Location: Merseyside
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A quick search on any search engine will answer the OP. Just type in gov uk weapons ranges uk status and the gov uk website military-low-flying air weapons ranges activity link will come up. I havenít posted 8 times as yet so canít post a link.

WillNorris81 is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2022, 11:15
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Wildest Surrey
Age: 74
Posts: 9,831
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Originally Posted by dctyke View Post
Now that the current crop of RAF operational jets donít use practice weapons Iím surprised any of the east coast ranges are still open. With the demise of RAF EOD the Army are now clearing Cowden Range near me which will take years if they do it properly.
Wainfleet was closed a few years ago.
chevvron is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2022, 21:19
  #18 (permalink)  
I don't own this space under my name. I should have leased it while I still could
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Lincolnshire
Age: 79
Posts: 16,775
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Helos use the ranges.
Pontius Navigator is offline  
Old 23rd Nov 2022, 22:02
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 239
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Certainly the Wattershambles AH-64s use Holbeach on a regular basis.
ExAscoteer2 is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2022, 02:24
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Wildest Surrey
Age: 74
Posts: 9,831
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Originally Posted by ExAscoteer2 View Post
Certainly the Wattershambles AH-64s use Holbeach on a regular basis.
Yeah but the speed they fly at it must take them about an hour to get there and another hour to get back!
chevvron is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.