In January 2015, the Department of Defense announced the European Infrastructure Consolidation, which realigned several U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa missions to reduce excess infrastructure capacity and more efficiently and effectively array existing force structure within the theater.
Current updates on the EIC's impact to the 501st Combat Support Wing are listed below. Additional updates will be provided as they become available. For more information, please contact 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs at 01480 823 857 or email email@example.com.
In January of 2015, the Department of Defense annouced the divestment of RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom, as part of the EIC Review, which included the need to relocate the 95th Reconaissance Squadron and the 488th Intelligence Squadron. After a strategic and thorough review of options to determine best potential sites, in March 2017 the Secretary of the Air Force approved the relocation of the 95 RS and 488 ISS to RAF Fairford, U.K. This move enables U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa to reduce excess capacity without any loss of operational capabilities.
RAF Fairford was selected because of mission synergies, emerging operational requirements within the US European Command Area of Responsibility (AOR), quality of life for military personnel, and a variety of other factors that go into deciding what best benefits the Air Force and the military personnel supporting the mission. Approximately 530 military personnel and Air Force civilians and approximately 740 family members will move to RAF Fairford in support of this relocation. The exact number of assigned aircraft fluctuates depending upon mission requirements. The move is expected to begin in 2023 and be complete by 2024.
All RC-135s are permanently assigned to the 55th Wing, Air Combat Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. They will use RAF Fairford as a Forward Operating Location and will deploy as required from the U.S. as they currently do at RAF Mildenhall. The 95th RS and 488th IS provide intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities.
For more information on the RC-135, please visit the Air Force's fact sheet here: https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/104608/rc-135vw-rivet-joint/.