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News & Events

The air weapons range ceased air operations on 2 Dec 2009.
From time to time it is
necessary that the road barrier at RAF Wainfleet is closed which may signal explosive
ordnance disposal operations near the sea bank.

There is a maximum speed limit of no more than 5 mph when crossing the sea
bank adjacent to the tower which is essential should a vehicle be coming the
other way.

Although there is no risk from aircraft dropping bombs, there remains a
significant risk from unexploded ordnance that may be exposed by the tides.


12 April 11 The range is now unmanned but secure. Equipment and fittings have been removed from all buildings including the control tower.
16 December 09 The air weapons range ceased air operations on 2 Dec 2009 but a skeleton
staff will remain for some months while equipment is removed and an
assessment made for future explosive ordance disposal.
04 November 09

On behalf of myself and ESAG members I would like to thank the staff of RAF Wainfleet for their warm welcomes whenever we came to visit the station. My first visit to the station was back in 1985 while I was on holiday in Skegness with my family. Having driven down to the front to view F-111s bombing one evening I stopped as we passed the compound and spoke to the station commander. To my surprise we were invited up to the tower in order to view the activity which culminated in a CLOSE "wheels check" by one of the F-111s! That was the start of my long association with the range and I have been a regular visitor ever since.
Over the years the station has supported us with our fundraising for the RAFBF by supplying us with various items such as spent practice round casings and projectiles. In return we have supported the RAF Wainfleet Open Days which were becoming ever more popular.

One hesitates to pick out individuals as all were most helpful when I harrassed them for this and that:
Sally for her enduring smile and copious cups of tea and coffee; Roy for his interesting conversations and his permission to go places where visitors were not usually allowed; Kev Wilson for his northern wit and charm and his willingness to help out where and whenever he could. The guys in the tower, collectively they kept up our spirits when, as quite often happened, the traffic dried up due to circumstances beyond their control. Ah, the times we put the world to rights!

One good piece of news emerging at the party was that four of the Serco guys plus a part-time H&S person will be staying for the time being in order to assist EOD with range clearance .
So to all you guys we send our thanks and wish you all the best for the future.

04 November 09

The closure ceremony of RAF Wainfleet took place on 2nd December 2009 although the station actually closed on the 3rd.
I attended on the last day and was very kindly invited by Flt.Sgt. Carl to join the lunch at the local pub. Despite the obviously subdued atmosphere of the occasion staff enjoyed the very special air of comradery in evidence and a number of fitting tributes were paid by senior members of the various organisations involved in the operation of the station. Presentations were made by SERCO and EOD to members of staff.

I endeavoured to say a few coherent words after lunch although having not been expecting to attend this part of the proceedings I had nothing prepared. I then presented each member of staff with a framed print commemorating the closure.

27 October 09 The MOD has an ongoing requirement to tailor its facilities to support
operational training and to that end rationalisation options for the Defence
Training Estate across the UK are currently being looked at. This includes
Air Weapons Ranges and the future use of RAF wainfleet is yet to be
finalised. The last flying day at RAF Wainfleet will be 2 Dec 09. This
brings to a close 71 years of operations as an RAF Air Weapons Range.

The programme for November will see Wainfleet going out with a bang not a
whimper, provided of course that squadrons honour their bookings.
Bookings promise one of the fullest programmes for many months with F15s from
both the 492nd and 494th, GR4 Tornados from Marham, Harriers from
1, 4 and 20 Sqns and the Naval Strike Wing, and of course the Fast-Jet Trials
Sqn. We also expect cabin gun-firing on 10 days.

There will be a Tornado Bombing Competition on 12 Nov between IX Sqn and 617
Sqn and we expect a large number of visitors from former members
of the Squadrons including a number of ex-wartime aircrew.

Please remember that the activity listed above is subject to change/cancellation at short notice. If you intend to visit be prepared for possible disappointment, especially if the weather is unfavourable!
Phil Webb.
25 October 09

There are unconfirmed rumours emanating from the Pprune forum that RAF Wainfleet is due to close in 6 weeks, watch this space for futher developments........

11 October 09

On 30 Sep a farmer working a field close to the bombing range unearthed a metal object. On examination by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team from RAF Coningsby it was identified at an RAF 1000lb Target Indicator. Although it appears some effort had been made to make it safe, there was evidence of pyrotechnic candles still inside. These were removed for safe disposal and Serco recovered the body. It has been painted in representative colours and presented to the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby on 8 Oct.

On the afternoon of 8 Oct a farmer reported finding a number of bombs in his potato riddler. On examination these appeared to be a 25lb Practice Bomb body, three 8.5lb Practice Bomb bodies, the base plates of two 5 inch shells, some pyro bits, a device that might have been a tail fuse, and a live .303 round. They were destroyed in situ by 5131 EOD Sqn from RAF Wittering who arrived within 90 minutes. As this was off MOD land the civil police were also in attendance.

11 October 09 End of an era; well not yet. For 20 years Serco Defence has managed the
Wainfleet Range on behalf of the MOD and they were to handover to Qinetiq on
4 Dec. This plan has been delayed and Serco will now continue to operate the
range at least until 31 Mar 10."
31 August 09 Following a revised risk assessment the air weapons range has been changed from an Open Range to a Closed Range. A Closed range is one where the risk from weapons debris and unexploded ordnance is such that it is unsafe for members of the public to enter the range area. The visible difference is that the range warning flags are now flown at all times. Only two weeks after the change a live practice bomb was found only 400 metres from the main car park. Although it had lain undisturbed for over 20 years it was still live and was destroyed in situ.

The risks on the range come not only from the weapons but from the tides and conditions. In June, during a range inspection, the tractor broke down and had to be rescued by the range JCB. The tractor was taken under tow but the JCB ran into quick sand and got stuck. Although the tide was well out, so were the tractor and JCB. We started to walk the 3 miles back to the shore while waiting for transport. After a pleasant stroll across the marsh we were eventually picked up by the Range 4x4 crew wagon. The tractor and JCB are still on the range and have been notified as a hazard to shipping.

It goes on. Although explosives, tide and weather pose considerable risks the salty conditions will destroy anything. It destroyed the 4x4 crew wagon and it failed its MOT. While this was bad news for the contractor things did not stop there. The 4x4 ran into quick sand in July and it too is now a permanent fixture on the range. Serco had replaced the tractor and JCB and are fingers crossed that the remaining vehicles will survive until December.

25 March 09 RAF Wainfleet will be opening it's doors to the public again this year on 4th August. It is hoped that there will be a further increase in exhibitors and visitors as the event becomes evermore popular. Entry is free and there will be regular guided tours to the control tower.
The Range


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