Wattisham Airfield

Wattisham Airfield (ICAO: EGUW) is the biggest centralised operational Army Airfield in the UK, located next to the small village of Wattisham in Suffolk, England. It is home to 3 Regiment Army Air Corps and 4 Regiment Army Air Corps. They are part of the Attack Helicopter Force (AHF) within the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC), whose headquarters is at Army Headquarters. They fly the Westland WAH-64 Apache helicopter.

Wattisham Airfield
Wattisham Flying Station
Wattisham, Suffolk
Shown within Suffolk
Coordinates52°07′37″N 000°57′21″E
TypeArmy Air Corps airfield
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
Controlled byBritish Army's Army Air Corps
Site history
Built1913 (1913)
In use1913–Present
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Airfield information
IdentifiersICAO: EGUW
Elevation87 metres (285 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
05/23 2,424 metres (7,953 ft) Asphalt
Sources: World Aero Data[1]

Also located at Wattisham is 7 Aviation Support Battalion REME with a helicopter repair facility with worldwide capability, and 132 Aviation Supply Unit Royal Logistics Corps. The RAF maintains a presence at the airfield with the Brigade Parachute Squadron RAF.

Apart from the military, the police helicopter unit for Suffolk Constabulary also operates from Wattisham as well as the Anglia Gliding Club[2] (which is, in fact, the oldest serving member of Wattisham, having been there as a RAFGSA club when the RAF occupied). Also resident is No 1287 Sqn, Air Training Corps.

The airfield covers a site of 1,072 acres (434 ha). There are 2,000 troops stationed on site with 600 houses for married personnel between Wattisham, Hadleigh and Ipswich. There are 300 HGVs, 200 Land Rovers, over 40 military helicopters and the Suffolk Police Eurocopter as well as casual access for 2 Air Ambulances.

There is a museum[3] on site which tells the history of the airfield and this is open on Sundays during April to October.


Wattisham Airfield has had a long and distinguished history. First opening in April 1939 the airfield was used by the RAF before being lent to the United States Army Air Forces in 1942. After the Second World War Wattisham became one of the UK's front-line air force fighter airfields during the Cold War with aircraft on Quick Reaction Alert on a rotational basis with other UK fighter stations.

Wattisham used to house 'B' Flight, 22 Squadron Royal Air Force with its Search & Rescue Sea King helicopters, until the privatisation of SAR provision in 2015, which led to 22 Squadron standing down. The closest SAR base under the new Bristow Helicopters contract is Manston Airport in Kent.

As of 1 November 2018, there was 852 personnel assigned to 3 and 4 Regiments and 429 to 7 Aviation Support Battalion.[4]

Operational units

Flying and notable non-flying units based at Wattisham Airfield.[5][6][7][8]

British Army

Joint Helicopter Command / Army Air Corps

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (16 Air Assault Brigade)

Royal Engineers (8 Engineer Brigade, 12 (Force Support) Engineer Group)

  • Headquarters 20 Works Group Royal Engineers (Air Support)
    • 533 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (Airfields) (STRE)


  1. Airport information for EGUW at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.
  2. Anglia Gliding Club
  3. Wattisham Airfield Museum
  4. Lancaster, Mark (29 November 2018). "Army:Written question – 194616". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  5. "3 Regiment Army Air Corps". The British Army. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  6. "4 Regiment Army Air Corps". The British Army. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  7. "7 Aviation Support Battalion". The British Army. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  8. "An introduction to...20 Works Group Royal Engineers" (PDF). Wittering View. Lance Publishing Ltd.: 18 Spring 2015.
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