Wattisham is my local airfield, being located just a few miles from Stowmarket. The airfield has a long and distingushed history, having been built and completed just in time for war in 1939 and initally operating as a light bomber base with RAF Blenheims. The very first RAF raid on Germany was mounted from Wattisham. The USAAF 8th Air Force operated the 479th Fighter Group from Wattisham later in the war, and the airfield became a RAF fighter station post war, remaining as such until the Phantoms were withdrawn in 1992. Wattisham was handed over to the Army Air Corps, and is now the home to all frontline AAC Apache units. The RAF still have a small presence with 'B' Flight, 22 Sqn, RAF operating Sea King HAR3A's in the Search & Rescue role. Suffolk police also operate their Air Support Unit from one of the former Phantom Hardened Aircraft Shelters. Despite what many think, viewing and photography at Wattisham is still quite possible, although it has to be remembered that security is higher than in the RAF days. For further information on Wattisham's history, I would recommend Dave Eade's recently published book; 'RAF Wattisham: A Pictorial History', which contains one of my Apache images.
  • 2015 Attack Helicopter Display Team

    28 photos

    For the 2015 season the AAC Attack Helicopter Force at Wattisham appeared for the first time with a pairs demo. Going by the name 'Gunship' the team appeared at a number of airshows during the season. Most of my images were taken during practise sessions at Wattisham prior to public events.

  • Apache AH1 operations

    174 photos

    This folder will contain all images of Apaches taken in and around Wattisham airfield that are not in other, more specific albums. The airfield is now home to all six frontline AAC AH squadrons, spread between 3 and 4 Regiments, AAC. Only aircraft retained with Westlands at Yeovil and the dozen airframes assigned to 673 Sqn, the AH training squadron at Middle Wallop are not based here.

  • Czech Air Force Visit

    7 photos

    A few images of one of the most unusual visitors to Wattisham in recent years. The arrival and overnight stop by two Czech Republic Airforce helicopters. The Mi-24 Hind and Mi-17 Hip were actually enroute to Scotland for the weekend Leuchars airshow.

  • Police and 'B' Flight, 22 Sqn

    47 photos

    Wattisham is also home to the local Royal Air Force Search & Rescue flight. Operated by 'B' Flight, 22 Sqn, the two Sea King HAR3A's are flown from a newly built hangar on the site previously occupied by the old 'Q' Shed. The former Suffolk Police Eurocopter EC-135P-2+ is now operated by the NPAS (National Police Air Service) from the North side HAS site.

  • Visitors and ex-residents

    66 photos

    Wattisham is not noted as a airfield that recieves many visitors. It does function as a refuelling stop for many military rotary aircraft transiting to and from Europe, and does occasionally host large fixed wing transports, including the Antonov An-124's airlifting Apache's to and from the US. Although the AAC only operate Apaches from Wattisham now, Lynx and Gazelle were based here until recently.

  • Historic Wattisham

    16 photos

    A few images from the good old days when Wattisham vibrated to the sound of the mighty Phantom. These are scanned in from prints, so lack quality compared to modern images.

  • AAC Apache 100k hours

    19 photos

    In May 2011, the AAC Apache fleet passed a 100 thousand flying hours, a third of which has been flown in Afghanistan since 2006. A media event was hosted at Wattisham on the 25th May to celebrate this, coinciding with the breaking news that the type would be deployed over Libya as well.

  • An-124 visit 09/2011

    9 photos

    The latest Antonov An-124 arrived at Wattisham on Sunday, 25th September to load Apaches for Exercise Crimson Eagle in the US.

 
     
     
 

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