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AndyK!

UK RAF/USAF Bentwaters, Suffolk - December 2018

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This turned out to be a good day out with @SpiderMonkey and Exxperious.  This is a big site, by far the largest RAF base I've explored in terms of area covered, so we spent the whole day looking around it. 

 

History of RAF Bentwaters

RAF Bentwaters is a former Royal Air Force station in Suffolk, named after Bentwater Cottages, two small houses that stood on the site of the main runway prior to its construction. Construction of the base began in 1942 for use by RAF Bomber Command and opened for operational use in April 1944. In December that year it was transferred to No. 11 Group, RAF Fighter Command. The runways were constructed in the typical RAF layout of one main runway diagonally intersected by two secondary runways, forming a triangle.

 

The base was used by the RAF during the Second World War, and then used by the United States Air Force from 1951 until 1993, primarily for efforts during the Cold War. Bentwaters was to play a key role in the defence of Western Europe during the Cold War when large numbers of USAF aircraft were assigned as part of the air arm of NATO.

 

Current Uses

Bentwaters was handed back to the UK Ministry of Defence in 1993 and was subsequently closed. Now known as Bentwaters Parks, the site is used as a business park and filming location. Owners are constantly developing the filming and production facilities available at the site. Movies and TV programmes filmed there include Derren Brown's Apocalypse, movies The Numbers Station and Fast & Furious 6, along with some Top Gear stunts, amongst others.

 

In 2007 the Bentwaters Cold War Museum opened, including tours of the fully restored “War Operations Room” and “Battle Cabin”.

 

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Aerial view of the site after becoming Bentwaters Parks

Star Wars Building

The so-called “Star Wars Building” is surrounded by concrete blast walls and contains some interesting spaces including a medical room.

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The Star Wars Building

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Concrete blast walls

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Entrance of the Star Wars Building

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Medical Facility

Bomb Stores

Built during the Cold War to securely store nuclear and conventional weapons, the bomb store was heavily fortified with three layers of fencing, razor wire, a swing-arm vehicle barrier, two gates, pressure pads, armoured guard house, guard tower and overhead cables to keep helicopters out.

We didn’t get passed the gate!


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Entrance to the Bomb Stores

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Armoured Guard House

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One of the storage facilities with overhead cables

One of the store buildings had a couple of old fire engines parked up behind it....

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Planes and Helicopters

There are all sorts of jet aeroplanes and helicopters parked up around the site, in varying states of decay and dismantlement.

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Exxperious modelling his entry into "Miss Fighter Jet 2018"

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K-9 Building

The K-9 building contains spacious dog kennels.

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K-9 Building

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Kennels inside the K-9 Building

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Hangers

The site has a lot of hardened aircraft shelters, or hangers, spread out across a vast area. Several are in use by private companies, and others are empty. A common feature of the hangers is the huge sliding doors that form the entire hanger's frontage – these slide to the side on rails to open up fully allowing access for aeroplanes.

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One of the many hangers

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Typical interior of the hangers

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Original sliding door controls

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The framework sits on rails and supports the huge doors, allowing them to slide fully open

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527th Aggressor Squadron Hardened Aircraft Shelter


Deputy Commander Operations

This building had been out of use for quite some time and is suffering a lot of decay. The moisture and condensation cause constant rainfall inside the building, which was ideal for plant growth.

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Deputy Commander Operations building

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Runway, Control Tower and Maintenance Vehicles

We didn’t make it over to the control tower, which is situated within the live business park area of the site. The runway still has some of the maintenance and de-icing vehicles parked up.

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The Control Tower pictured in 1972

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The Control Tower today (poor quality due to crazy crop, as we didn't go over there!)

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North/South runway with the control tower in the distance

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De-icer truck

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The Hush House

Originally built as a jet engine testing facility with an exhaust tunnel, the Hush House was a soundproofed hangar where fighter

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Exterior of the exhaust tunnel

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Interior of the Hush House

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The exhaust tunnel

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Hush House control booth and viewing window


Thanks for looking!

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Of course I got a selfie!
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Really nice that Andy.glad you took the time to o.lots of nice bits left.Inever got in the K9 bit,and was collared just near the hush house.great pics there.

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