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RAF Mount Pleasant

RAF Mount Pleasant

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RAF Mount Pleasant is a military base for the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 in the British Overseas Territory of the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

. The facility is part of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands
Military of the Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and, as such, rely on the UK for guarantee of their security. The other UK territories in the South Atlantic, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, fall under the protection of the British forces on the Falklands ,...

 (BFSAI). The station, home to between 1,000 and 2,000 British military personnel, is located about 30 miles (48.3 km) miles southwest of Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

—the capital of the Falklands—on the island of East Falkland
East Falkland
East Falkland the largest of the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, has an area of and a coastline long. Most of the population of the Falklands live in East Falkland, almost all of them living in the northern half of the island...

. The world's longest corridor, half a mile (800 m) long, links the barracks, messes and recreational and welfare areas of the base.

The base is occasionally referred to by its residents as the 'Death Star
Death Star
The Death Star is a fictional moon-sized space station and superweapon appearing in the Star Wars movies and expanded universe. It is capable of destroying a planet with a single destructive super charged energy beam.-Origin and design:...

' because of its sometimes confusing layout.

History



RAF Mount Pleasant is the most recent purpose-built permanent airfield in the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

. The RAF previously had a small base at Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

 airfield after the end of the hostilities in 1982. During the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 when the islands were occupied by Argentine
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 military forces, 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...

 aircraft were sent to disable the runway with RAF Strike Command
RAF Strike Command
The Royal Air Force's Strike Command was the military formation which controlled the majority of the United Kingdom's bomber and fighter aircraft from 1968 until 2007: it was merged with Personnel and Training Command to form the single Air Command. It latterly consisted of two formations - No. 1...

 Vulcan bomber
Avro Vulcan
The Avro Vulcan, sometimes referred to as the Hawker Siddeley Vulcan, was a jet-powered delta wing strategic bomber, operated by the Royal Air Force from 1956 until 1984. Aircraft manufacturer A V Roe & Co designed the Vulcan in response to Specification B.35/46. Of the three V bombers produced,...

s (Operation Black Buck
Operation Black Buck
During the Falklands War, Operations Black Buck 1 to Black Buck 7 were a series of seven extremely long-range ground attack missions by Royal Air Force Vulcan bombers planned against Argentine positions in the Falkland Islands...

) and Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 Sea Harrier
BAE Sea Harrier
The British Aerospace Sea Harrier is a naval VTOL/STOVL jet fighter, reconnaissance and attack aircraft, a development of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier. It first entered service with the Royal Navy in April 1980 as the Sea Harrier FRS1 and became informally known as the "Shar"...

s. The raids were moderately successful, and on the first Black Buck mission one 1000 pounds (453.6 kg) bomb hit the runway in the middle, disabling it. However, temporary repairs by the Argentines did allow C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to bring in supplies and take out casualties until the end of the conflict. After the end of hostilities the runway was fully repaired by British military engineers.

After the surrender of the Argentine ground forces on the islands, the British still faced the problem of potential Argentine
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 air attacks from the Argentine homeland, so an aircraft carrier had to remain on station to guard the islands with its squadron of Sea Harriers until the local airfield was prepared for jet aircraft. HMS Hermes
HMS Hermes (R12)
HMS Hermes was a Centaur-class British aircraft carrier, the last of the postwar conventional aircraft carriers commissioned into the Royal Navy.-Construction and modifications:...

 was the first to take guard duty, whilst HMS Invincible
HMS Invincible (R05)
HMS Invincible was a British light aircraft carrier, the lead ship of three in her class in the Royal Navy. She was launched on 3 May 1977 and is the seventh ship to carry the name. She saw action in the Falklands War when she was deployed with , she took over as flagship of the British fleet when...

 went north to change (at sea) a main engine. Invincible then returned to relieve Hermes which urgently needed to return to the UK for boiler cleaning. Invincible returned until she was relieved by the newly built HMS Illustrious
HMS Illustrious (R06)
HMS Illustrious is the second of three Invincible-class light aircraft carriers built for the Royal Navy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She is the fifth warship and second aircraft carrier to bear the name Illustrious, and is affectionately known as "Lusty" to her crew...

, which was quickly rushed south and commissioned during the journey. Once the Port Stanley runway was available for jets, Illustrious was relieved by 4x RAF Phantom FGR.2 (named ‘Faith’. ‘Hope’, Charity’ and ‘Desperation’ by the crews - the first three named after the three 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 that according to legend was the name of the three RAF fighters defending Malta in the Second World War).

The British government felt that Stanley airfield was not the best option for a large, permanent base and decided to construct a new RAF station and make it the centrepiece of considerably strengthened air defences for the the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, known as the South Sandwich...

. This was intended to deter any future Argentine attempts to take the islands by force. Mount Pleasant, to the west of Stanley, was chosen as the site for the new station. The airfield was opened by Prince Andrew
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York KG GCVO , is the second son, and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 (who served in the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

) in 1985, and became fully operational in 1986.

Flights of Phantoms were rotated through the base until 1988 when they were replaced with Tornado F.3s
Panavia Tornado ADV
The Panavia Tornado Air Defence Variant is a long-range, twin-engine interceptor version of the swing-wing Panavia Tornado. The aircraft's first flight was on 27 October 1979, and it entered service in 1986. It was retired on 22 March 2011 by the Royal Air Forceand is now only in service with the...

. The Tornado was replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...

 in September 2009. These have been supported throughout by Lockheed Hercules C.1s and (since 1996) Vickers VC10 C.1s
Vickers VC10
The Vickers VC10 is a long-range British airliner designed and built by Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, and first flown in 1962. The airliner was designed to operate on long-distance routes with a high subsonic speed and also be capable of hot and high operations from African airports...

 equipped for aerial refuelling, transport, 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...

 and maritime patrol
Maritime patrol
Maritime patrol is the task of monitoring areas of water. Generally conducted by military and law enforcement agencies, maritime patrol is usually aimed at identifying human activities....

.

A flight 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 for support and 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...

 has been based at Mount Pleasant since November 2007.

Current equipment




RAF Mount Pleasant has a wide range of social and sporting facilities including a gym, swimming pool, golf course, diving centre, karting, laserquest, library, cinema, bowling, climbing wall and indoor and outdoor sports pitches. As of August 2010 it has the only cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 ground in the Falklands. There are two NAAFI
Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes
The Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes is an organisation created by the British government in 1921 to run recreational establishments needed by the British Armed Forces, and to sell goods to servicemen and their families...

 shops, hairdressers, a medical centre, and an education centre on the base. BFBS Radio also maintains a live local station on the site. There is also a complex that includes a café and a small shop (RONOKEs), which are both owned and run by the Falkland Islands Company
Falkland Islands Holdings
Falkland Islands Holdings plc or FIH is a British conglomerate which plays a key role in the economy of the Falkland Islands through the Falklands Islands Company...

.

Currently based at Mount Pleasant are No. 905 Expeditionary Air Wing
Expeditionary Air Wing
On 1 April 2006 Expeditionary Air Wings were formed at nine of the RAF's Main Operating Bases. Each EAW has its own identity and is led by the Station Commander, supported by his Station management team...

, No. 1435 Flight
No. 1435 Flight RAF
No. 1435 Flight is a Eurofighter Typhoon unit of the Royal Air Force, based at RAF Mount Pleasant, providing air defence for the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.During the Second World War, No...

 with four Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...

s, No. 1312 Flight
No. 1312 Flight RAF
No. 1312 Flight is an independent flight of the Royal Air Force, supporting at present the defence of the Falkland Islands.While the UK officially does not foresee any threat to the Falkland Islands, it maintains significant military forces as a deterrent against any aggressor. These forces also...

, with a single VC10
Vickers VC10
The Vickers VC10 is a long-range British airliner designed and built by Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, and first flown in 1962. The airliner was designed to operate on long-distance routes with a high subsonic speed and also be capable of hot and high operations from African airports...

 tanker and one Hercules
C-130 Hercules
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

, as well as No.1564 Flight
No. 1564 Flight RAF
-1564 Flight in World War II:No. 1564 Flight was first formed at RAF Mellaha, near Tripoli, Libya, on 1 February 1943, flying Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires, and was disbanded at Istres, France on 15 June 1946....

 (since November 2007) with 2 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 maintained by SKIOS (Sea King Integrated Operational Support), an aeronautical engineering collaboration between AgustaWestland
AgustaWestland
AgustaWestland is an Anglo-Italian helicopter design and manufacturing company. It was formed in July 2000 when Finmeccanica S.p.A. and GKN plc agreed to merge their respective helicopter subsidiaries to form AgustaWestland with Finmeccanica and GKN each holding a 50% share.AgustaWestland is now a...

 and VT Aerospace
VT Group
VT Group plc was a British defence and services company, formerly known as Vosper Thornycroft. The Company had diversified from shipbuilding into various engineering and support services, becoming involved in many areas of provision through five main operating groups: VT Communications, VT...

. There are also 2 Sikorsky S-61
Sikorsky S-61
The Sikorsky S-61L and S-61N are civil variants of the successful SH-3 Sea King helicopter. They are two of the most widely used airliner and oil rig support helicopters built.-Design and development:...

 civilian Helicopters run by British International Helicopters Limited (Brintel). Ground units include No 7, 303, and 751 Signals Units and a Rapier
Rapier missile
Rapier is a British surface-to-air missile developed for the British Army and Royal Air Force. Entering service in 1971, it eventually replaced all other anti-aircraft weapons in Army service; guns for low-altitude targets, and the English Electric Thunderbird, used against longer-range and...

 detachment from the Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

. This was previously handled by the RAF Regiment
RAF Regiment
The Royal Air Force Regiment is a specialist airfield defence corps founded by Royal Warrant in 1942. After a 32 week trainee gunner course, its members are trained and equipped to prevent a successful enemy attack in the first instance; minimise the damage caused by a successful attack; and...

 but the RA now have sole responsibility for operating the Rapier.

33 Engineer Regiment (EOD) provides constant support and is part of the Joint Service Falkland Islands Detachment which consists of RAF
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 and RLC
Royal Logistic Corps
The Royal Logistic Corps provides logistic support functions to the British Army. It is the largest Corps in the Army, comprising around 17% of its strength...

 EOD
Bomb disposal
Bomb disposal is the process by which hazardous explosive devices are rendered safe. Bomb disposal is an all encompassing term to describe the separate, but interrelated functions in the following fields:*Military:...

 teams. It is mainly based in Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

 but there is also a detachment at Mount Pleasant. The group's role is to destroy unexploded munitions from the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

; to brief troops, tourists and citizens on which areas are safe; and to mark uncleared minefields.

There is also a Joint Communications Unit (JCU) providing the electronic warfare
Electronic warfare
Electronic warfare refers to any action involving the use of the electromagnetic spectrum or directed energy to control the spectrum, attack an enemy, or impede enemy assaults via the spectrum. The purpose of electronic warfare is to deny the opponent the advantage of, and ensure friendly...

 and command and control systems for the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

.

On the 10th November 2011 it was announced that Prince William would be serving as a Sea King pilot on the base.

Operational units


  • No. 1435 Flight
    No. 1435 Flight RAF
    No. 1435 Flight is a Eurofighter Typhoon unit of the Royal Air Force, based at RAF Mount Pleasant, providing air defence for the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.During the Second World War, No...

  • No. 1312 Flight
    No. 1312 Flight RAF
    No. 1312 Flight is an independent flight of the Royal Air Force, supporting at present the defence of the Falkland Islands.While the UK officially does not foresee any threat to the Falkland Islands, it maintains significant military forces as a deterrent against any aggressor. These forces also...

  • No. 1564 Flight
    No. 1564 Flight RAF
    -1564 Flight in World War II:No. 1564 Flight was first formed at RAF Mellaha, near Tripoli, Libya, on 1 February 1943, flying Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires, and was disbanded at Istres, France on 15 June 1946....

  • SKIOS
  • Royal Artillery Detachment
    Royal Artillery
    The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery , is the artillery arm of the British Army. Despite its name, it comprises a number of regiments.-History:...

  • 61 Field Squadron part of 33 Engineer Regiment
  • 303 Signal Unit
  • Joint Communications Unit

Airlines and destinations


Using the IATA airport code
IATA airport code
An IATA airport code, also known an IATA location identifier, IATA station code or simply a location identifier, is a three-letter code designating many airports around the world, defined by the International Air Transport Association...

 MPN, RAF Mount Pleasant also acts as the Falkland Islands' only international airport, along with its military role. Flights open to civilian passengers are operated twice each week. Starting in autumn 2008 these flights were operated by a civilian airline, Flyglobespan
Flyglobespan
Flyglobespan was a British low-cost airline based in Edinburgh, Scotland. It formerly operated scheduled services from 5 airports across the UK and Ireland to destinations in Europe, North America, North Africa and South Africa. Its main bases were Glasgow International Airport, Edinburgh Airport...

, on behalf of the Royal Air Force; after Flyglobespan went bankrupt in 2009, the flights have been temporarily operated by Air Tahiti Nui
Air Tahiti Nui
Air Tahiti Nui is French Polynesia's flag carrier airline with its head office in the Immueble Dexter in Papeete, Tahiti. It operates international services for the low and high-end leisure travel markets. Its main base is Faa'a International Airport, Papeete.- History :Air Tahiti Nui was...

, Titan Airways
Titan Airways
Titan Airways is a British charter airline based at London Stansted Airport, United Kingdom. It operates contract and ad-hoc passenger and freight charters throughout the world and short notice wet-lease charters for scheduled airlines...

 and Air Seychelles
Air Seychelles
Air Seychelles is the national airline of the Seychelles, with its head office on the property of Seychelles International Airport on the island of Mahé. It operates inter-island services and international flights...

. They fly to and from RAF Brize Norton
RAF Brize Norton
RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, about west north-west of London, is the largest station of the Royal Air Force. It is close to the settlements of Brize Norton, Carterton and Witney....

 in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

, with a refuelling stop at RAF Ascension Island in the south-central Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. These flights currently use Boeing 767
Boeing 767
The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner built by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It was the manufacturer's first wide-body twinjet and its first airliner with a two-crew glass cockpit. The aircraft features two turbofan engines, a supercritical wing, and a conventional tail...

 aircraft although occasionally an RAF Lockheed TriStar
Lockheed TriStar (RAF)
|-See also:-References:* Prothero, R.M. "Tristar:The answer to an operational requirement". Air International, March 1991, Vol 40 No. 3. pp. 128–134....

 freight aircraft or an Antonov An-225
Antonov An-225
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft, designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s. It is the world's heaviest aircraft. The design, built in order to transport the Buran orbiter, was an enlargement of the successful An-124 Ruslan...

 bring in large items of freight.

Additionally, every Saturday LAN Airlines
LAN Airlines
LAN Airlines S.A. is an airline based in Santiago, Chile. LAN is currently positioned amongst the largest airlines in Latin America, serving Latin America, United States, the Caribbean, Oceania, and Europe. It is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance...

 operates a scheduled commercial flight to the city of Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas, Chile
Punta Arenas is a commune and the capital city of Chile's southernmost region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena. The city was officially renamed Magallanes in 1927, but in 1938 it was changed back to Punta Arenas...

 in southern Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, stopping at Río Gallegos, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 once a month.

Scheduled



Unscheduled



See also


  • RAF station
    RAF station
    A Royal Air Force station is a permanent Royal Air Force operations location. Many RAF stations are aerodromes, or airbases, being the home to one or more flying squadrons. Other RAF stations are training units, administrative units, headquarters , or carry out ground-based operational tasks...

  • List of RAF stations
  • List of Royal Air Force aircraft squadrons
  • Military of the Falkland Islands
    Military of the Falkland Islands
    The Falkland Islands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and, as such, rely on the UK for guarantee of their security. The other UK territories in the South Atlantic, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, fall under the protection of the British forces on the Falklands ,...

  • Mare Harbour
    Mare Harbour
    Mare Harbour Mare Harbour Mare Harbour (Spanish: Puerto Yegua is a small settlement on East Falkland, on Choiseul Sound. It is mostly used as a port facility and depot for RAF Mount Pleasant, as well as a deepwater port used by the Royal Navy ships patrolling the South Atlantic and Antarctica,...


External links