RAF Fairford: United States Air Force (USAF) plans for growth

Plans to allow growth at RAF Fairford over the next few years have been announced, writes Chris Roberts.

Following the news that the RC-135 Rivet Joint is no longer coming to RAF Fairford, the base held a virtual briefing recently for civic leaders, to discuss the future of the base.

Although the level of growth is much smaller than originally anticipated, there will still be some growth at RAF Fairford over the coming years.

There are plans for new hangar facilities at RAF Fairford, which will involve some construction projects over the next few years, and new permanent military posts from 2023 onwards.

This is a significant investment in the base, which will come with around 300 new posts, mostly military with some new jobs available for local residents.

Growth in military personnel will lead to an increase in demand for housing and schooling off base, with civic leaders working with the relevant authorities to facilitate this.

The commander at RAF Fairford, Lt Col Joseph ‘Chaps’ Knothe, will be leaving in May for pastures new, after making his home at Fairford for the past three years.

Lt Col Knothe’s next posting will be based in Maine, and he and his family are excited to be moving to another beautiful part of the world, from their current home in Cirencester.

Lt Col Knothe will be replaced by Lt Col Jeremy Stover, who will arrive in late April with his family.

Following a period of quarantine, Lt Col Stover will take over as 420 Air Base Squadron Commander in mid-May.

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