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Bodø Main Air Station

Bodø Main Air Station

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Bodø Main Air Station Bodø Main Air Station (Norwegian: Bodø hovedflystasjon is situated just outside Bodø
Bodø
is a city and a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Salten region.The city of Bodø was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 . Bodin was merged with Bodø on 1 January 1968. Skjerstad was merged with Bodø on 1 January 2005...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and is the largest air station in Norway, operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force
Royal Norwegian Air Force
The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees . 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF...

. The air station is home to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons of the 331st and the 332nd Squadrons, in addition to a detachment of Westland Sea King
Westland Sea King
The Westland WS-61 Sea King is a British licence-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name, built by Westland Helicopters. The aircraft differs considerably from the American version, with Rolls-Royce Gnome engines , British made anti-submarine warfare systems and a...

 helicopters from the 330th Squadron. Bodø MAS is also the producer of the NASAMS
NASAMS
NASAMS is a distributed and networked medium to long range air-defence system. NASAMS was the first surface-based application for the AIM-120 AMRAAM and the first surface-to-air missile system in the western world with active radar guidance...

 (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System). Near the air station, at Bodin
Bodin
Bodin is a parish and former municipality in Nordland county, Norway.-History:Bodin was established as a municipality January 1, 1838 . Some smaller parts of the municipality were transferred to the town of Bodø January 1, 1901 and July 1, 1938...

, there is an air force training base. The runway is shared with the civilian Bodø Airport
Bodø Airport
Bodø Airport is civil airport in Bodø, Norway. Located just south of the city centre, on the westernmost tip of the peninsula Bodø lies on, it shares facilities with the military air force base Bodø Main Air Station. The airport has a single concrete, runway which runs in a roughly east-west...

.

The air force base is manned by approximately 450 conscripted recruits, with 1000 employees in total. Bodø Main Air Station hosts 50% of the Norwegian jet fighter force. The main objectives are to train new pilots and to maintain two fighters at immediate readiness for NATO. The Sea Kings are used for search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 operations.

History



Before the outbreak of WW II Bodø did not have an Airfield. All air communication was managed with seaplanes by the Norwegian company Widerøe
Widerøe
Widerøe's Flyveselskap AS, trading as Widerøe, is a regional airline in Norway and part of the SAS Group. It operates a fleet of 34 Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft , serving 41 domestic and 6 international destinations...

.

World War II


In early 1940 two Short Sandringham
Short Sunderland
The Short S.25 Sunderland was a British flying boat patrol bomber developed for the Royal Air Force by Short Brothers. It took its service name from the town and port of Sunderland in northeast England....

 flying boats flew in from the United Kingdom with engineers and their equipment to start work on a runway, and several options were studied before it was decided to build a runway at Plassmyra just outside Bodø.

On May 26, 1940, three British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Gloster Gladiator
Gloster Gladiator
The Gloster Gladiator was a British-built biplane fighter. It was used by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy and was exported to a number of other air forces during the late 1930s. It was the RAF's last biplane fighter aircraft and was rendered obsolete by newer monoplane designs even as it...

s of No. 263 Squadron RAF
No. 263 Squadron RAF
No 263 Squadron was an Royal Air Force fighter squadron formed in Italy towards the end of World War I. After being disbanded in 1919 it reformed in 1939 flying mainly strike and heavy fighter aircraft until becoming No 1 Squadron in 1958.-First World War:...

 arrived at Bodø, one of which bogged down in the mud and had to be abandoned. That day, one of the Gladiators, piloted by Flight Lieutenant Hull, damaged a Heinkel He 111
Heinkel He 111
The Heinkel He 111 was a German aircraft designed by Siegfried and Walter Günter in the early 1930s in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Often described as a "Wolf in sheep's clothing", it masqueraded as a transport aircraft, but its purpose was to provide the Luftwaffe with a fast medium...

 which went on to crash, shot down two Junkers Ju 52
Junkers Ju 52
The Junkers Ju 52 was a German transport aircraft manufactured from 1932 to 1945. It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s. In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as an airliner and freight hauler...

 transports, and damaged another He 111 all in one patrol.

At 08:00 the following day a force of about 14 Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers, escorted by Bf 110 heavy fighters, bombed the airfield and the town of Bodø. The two Gladiators attacked the Germans, claiming one Ju 87 each. However, they were in turn attacked by the escorting Bf 110s and Flight Lieutenant Hull was obliged to make a forced landing. The other Gladiator pilot, Lieutenant Lydekker, was wounded and, unable to land safely at Bodø due to the presence of the Bf 110s, flew to Bardufoss
Bardufoss
Bardufoss is a small village in the municipality of Målselv in Troms county, Norway. The population was 2,580. Bardufoss is located in the Målselvdalen valley near the confluence of the Barduelva and Målselva rivers. It is located about north of the city of Narvik and about south of the city...

 where he crashlanded.

The German occupying forces improved the runway with concrete surface and aircraft shelters, and a wood planked runway approximately 1200 m (3,937 ft) long. This runway mainly served Ju-88 light bombers and a unit of Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers, and Bf 109s of Jagdgeschwader 5
Jagdgeschwader 5
Jagdgeschwader 5 Eismeer was a Luftwaffe fighter Wing that served during World War II. As the name Eismeer implies, it was created to operate in the far North of Europe, namely Norway, Scandinavia and northern parts of Finland, all nearest the Arctic Ocean...

.

Cold War


When the war ended, the Norwegians
Norwegians
Norwegians constitute both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in United States, Canada and Brazil.-History:Towards the end of the 3rd...

 took control of the airport. During the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 the station was one of the most important Norwegian bases. During the event of a nuclear war
Nuclear warfare
Nuclear warfare, or atomic warfare, is a military conflict or political strategy in which nuclear weaponry is detonated on an opponent. Compared to conventional warfare, nuclear warfare can be vastly more destructive in range and extent of damage...

 between the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and NATO, Bodø Main Air Station primary function was to contribute with fighter aircraft to open Soviet air defence systems. The plan was that when the airspace was open, B-52
B-52 Stratofortress
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber operated by the United States Air Force since the 1950s. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, who have continued to provide maintainence and upgrades to the aircraft in service...

 bombers belonging to Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

 (SAC) were to go into the Soviet Union and drop nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s on cities and military installations. During the cold war the Norwegian Government did not allow placement of nuclear weapons in the kingdom during peace, but Bodø Main Air Station had specially built storage to receive nuclear weapons for storage in a war or during a crisis.

The airport has undergone major modernization and expansion projects, with NATO injecting vast amounts of money in 1988 to enable the airfield to handle large air forces in the event of an emergency.

No other area in the NATO alliance confronted Soviet counterparts face-to-face as frequently as the Norwegian fighter squadrons at Bodø during the Cold War. At the height of the Cold War they scrambled to the skies on a daily basis and saw up to 200 confrontations a year.

Aircraft that have been stationed at Bodø


Multiple aircraft have been stationed at Bodø, some of these are:
  • Supermarine Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire
    The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

  • De Havilland Vampire
    De Havilland Vampire
    The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engine fighter commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Following the Gloster Meteor, it was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late to see combat during the war, the Vampire served...

  • F-84 Thunderjet
    F-84 Thunderjet
    The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Army Air Forces proposal for a "day fighter", the F-84 flew in 1946...

  • F-86 Sabre
    F-86 Sabre
    The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War...

  • F-5 Freedom Fighter
    F-5 Freedom Fighter
    The Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter and the F-5E/F Tiger II are part of a family of widely-used light supersonic fighter aircraft, designed and built by Northrop...

  • F-104 Starfighter
    F-104 Starfighter
    The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed for the United States Air Force by Lockheed. One of the Century Series of aircraft, it served with the USAF from 1958 until 1969, and continued with Air National Guard units...

  • F-16 Fighting Falcon
    F-16 Fighting Falcon
    The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force . Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since...


Accidents and incidents


Lockheed U-2
Lockheed U-2
The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

 spyplanes were stationed at Bodø in 1958. On May 1, 1960 a U-2 plane piloted by Gary Powers
Gary Powers
Francis Gary Powers was an American pilot whose Central Intelligence Agency U-2 spy plane was shot down while flying a reconnaissance mission over Soviet Union airspace, causing the 1960 U-2 incident.- Early life :...

 flew from Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 to Bodø, but was shot down over the Soviet Union, causing the U-2 Crisis of 1960
U-2 Crisis of 1960
The 1960 U-2 incident occurred during the Cold War on May 1, 1960, during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower and during the leadership of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, when a United States U-2 spy plane was shot down over the airspace of the Soviet Union.The United States government at...

.

External links