While your initial RAF training will take place at RAF Halton and your technical training will probably take place at RAF Cosford, the RAF is committed to a world class on-going training programme to ensure that all service staff are ready for action. This article reviews the RAF training bases and what type of training is conducted at each of them.

RAF Halton

Halton is the RAF’s centre for recruit training and airmen’s development training and hosts other independent units and is the first of the RAF training bases that you are likely to visit.

The primary role of RAF Halton is to train military and civilian personnel to perform to the highest standard for military operations.

Units based at Halton include:

  • Recruit Training Squadron – initial training for all non-commissioned entrants to the RAF
  • Airmen’s Command Squadron – leadership and management training for non-commissioned officers
  • Specialist Training School – Health and Safety, Environmental Protection, Quality Management and Management and Procedural Skills Training
  • Joint Information Activities Group (JIAG)
  • Joint Media Operations Centre
  • Supply & Movements Training Wing
  • Training Analysis Centre
  • Defence Centre of Training Support
  • No 7644 (VR) Squadron, RAuxAF media operations squadron
  • Joint Service Gliding Centre
  • Headquarters Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire Wing Air Training Corps

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RAF Cosford

RAF Cosford in Shropshire is a major part of the Defence College of Technical Training (DCTT).

Schools currently stationed at RAF Cosford include:

  • 1 School of Technical Training
  • 1 Radio School RAF
  • The Defence School of Photography
  • RAF School of Physical Training

Flying units include:

  • The University of Birmingham Air Squadron
  • No 8 Air Experience Flight
  • The Wales and West regional headquarters
  • West Mercian Wing headquarters of the Air Training Corps
  • No 2497 (Cosford) Squadron of the ATC.

St Athan

MOD St Athan is a large Ministry of Defence site in the Vale of Glamorgan in south Wales and is where the RAF’s non-aircraft, ground engineering technicians are trained.

RAF St Athan is home to No 4 School of Technical Training who provide continued training to personnel from all three Services and MOD civilian staff and provides flexible, affordable, modern and effective technical training that meets the requirements of the UK’s Armed Forces.

St Athan is also home to the University of Wales Air Squadron.

RAF Boulmer

RAF Boulmer is home to the RAF School of Aerospace Battle Management (SABM), a worldwide centre of excellence on leading-edge battlespace management training and education for the UK Armed Forces, NATO and other foreign national military personnel.

RAF College Cranwell

RAF College Cranwell is an RAF Station based Lincolnshire with a long and distinguished history dating back to its foundations as a Royal Navy Training Establishment in 1916.

It was the world’s first Air Academy and today, it continues to select and train the next generation of officers and aircrew.

It is also home to No 3 Flying Training School which delivers the elementary flying training for fixed wing and multiengine student pilots from the RAF, Royal Navy and Army Air Corps, No 6 Flying Training School which oversees all University Air Squadrons in universities across the UK and the Tedder Leadership Academy.

RAF Honington

RAF Honington in Suffolk hosts initial and further training for the RAF Regiment and specialist training for the RAF’s entire Force Protection capability.

RAF Leeming

RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire trains, delivers, and supports UK and overseas Expeditionary Air Operations.

RAF Shawbury

RAF Shawbury College in Shropshire trains the next generation of Air Traffic Controllers, Weapons Controllers, Identification Officer, Flight Operations personnel, Air and Space Operations Specialists, and is a worldwide centre of excellence on leading-edge battlespace management training and education.

In addition, it delivers pre-deployment training to those about to deploy on operations as well as training selected personnel as instructors.

RAF Syerston

RAF Syerston is located near Nottingham and is home to 2 Flying Training School (2 FTS) and houses both the headquarters and the RAF Central Gliding School, which provides formal training courses for members of the Volunteer Gliding Squadrons (VGS) located at various other locations around the UK.

RAF Valley

RAF Valley on Anglesey is home to No 4 Flying Training School, responsible for training the UK’s next generation of world-class fighter pilots.

Aircrew are also trained at RAF Valley for mountain and maritime operations throughout the world.

RAF Waddington

RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire is home to The Air Battlespace Training Centre which prepares Service Personnel through demanding and immersive training scenarios across land, sea, and air.

RAF Wittering

RAF Wittering located in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, is the main operating base and headquarters for the RAF A4 Force and is a major Station for flying training.

The A4 Force deploys the vital engineering and logistic support needed to sustain RAF operations and exercises around the world, from explosive ordnance disposal to catering, and aircraft repair to ground transport vehicles.

No 16 Squadron is part of No 3 Flying Training School and provide elementary flying training to the next generation of RAF pilots.

The squadrons of No 6 Flying Training School, teach qualified pilots to become flying instructors, deliver elementary flying training to University Air Squadron students and give Air Cadets their first flying experiences.

Royal Air Force Woodvale

Royal Air Force Woodvale, near Formby in Merseyside, is currently home to flying units providing flying training to future University Air Squadron students and giving air experience flights to Air Cadet Organisations within the North West.

It is also home to 611 (West Lancashire) Squadron RAuxAF who meet there to conduct regular training.

RAF Training Bases

We hope that you have found this article on RAF training bases useful. You can find the complete list of RAF Stations here