US ‘set to quit Mildenhall airbase’

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Published: Thursday 8th January 2015 by The News Editor

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The US will pull out of a major airbase in the UK, with two other installations also expected to be handed back to the RAF.

The Pentagon’s review of forces in Europe has recommended the closure of RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, according to US defence news outlet Stars And Stripes.

No official announcement has been made but an RAF source said the report “looks like it’s pretty accurate”.

According to Stars And Stripes, RAF Mildenhall, home to 3,200 military personnel, will cease operations, with the 352nd special operations group relocating to Germany.

RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire will also be handed back to the British, with many of the personnel reassigned to RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the US department of defence (DoD) would make a formal announcement later today.

The spokesman said: “The DoD has been reviewing its requirement for bases across Europe as part of their European infrastructure consolidation review.

“We expect the DoD to announce the results of the review today and we will make a detailed statement in parallel.”

The review is reported to agree to the basing of two squadrons of F-35 jets at RAF Lakenheath in East Anglia from 2020.

A defence source insisted that the US commitment to European security remained “as strong as ever” despite the expected cuts.

The continued US presence was a “visible indicator of the transatlantic partnership” and a sign of “shared values, interests, experiences and vision”.

The source added: “It is to be expected that their precise footprint in the UK will change over time but the bedrock of co-operation on which it is built will not.”

Published: Thursday 8th January 2015 by The News Editor

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