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Akrotiri - Royal Air Force UK Airfield

Akrotiri - Royal Air Force UK Airfield RAF Akrotiri is situated on the Akrotiri Peninsular on the south coast of Cyprus, probably the most sought after posting in the Royal Air Force. Those about to be posted to RAF Akrotiri, personnel currently serving here and many thousands who have had the pleasure in the past, all must surely agree that the only downside to this unique location, is that at some point we have to leave and go back to UK, where we all eventually seem to reflect on our time at RAF Akrotiri, wishing we could come back for another look.

We look forward to your input in our visitors book and invite you to send us some of your pictures and stories about the good times you had out here in Cyprus, we hope this website will jog some faded memories into action.

THE HISTORY OF RAF AKROTIRI 1955 - 2005

The history of RAF Akrotiri began on 1 July 1 1955 when the first 30 personnel posted to the 'Unit' established themselves in the flat, dry, rocky scrubland on the windswept Akrotiri Peninsula. Nicosia Airport was temporarily closed as a result of terrorist activity and the handling of the island's civil aviation was diverted to Akrotiri - with a tented 'civil airport reception centre to match. An RAF Regiment Light Anti-Aircraft Wing was also brought in. By the end of August 1956 Station strength had reached 260 officers and 2864 other ranks: a massive increase in 12 months. It brought with it 1430 personnel on the daily sick-parade, mainly a result of the over crowding and unsanitary conditions, as construction lagged behind the unforeseen demand for accommodation. From its rough beginnings with caravans and mud tracks, the Station was laid out, roads made, hangars and some permanent buildings constructed. Three new barrack blocks were opened allowing another 32 families onto the Station into formerly misappropriated married quarters.

Akrotiri - Royal Air Force UK AirfieldOther intended married quarters were still in use as billets, Station Sick Quarters, the Education Centre, the Hospital and the NAAFI. A bank had opened for business and 4 wooden shacks served as shops.

A small theatre club was in existence and out along Ladies' Mile, the Sailing Club had been formed. In its first 12 months as a functioning operational airfield, RAF Akrotiri had not only survived but had expanded and flourished. Although continuously affected by the EOKA troubles in one way or another and with more than a quarter of the year spent on a full war footing for the Suez Crisis, morale was high and the pioneer spirit was still strong.

Although No 13 Squadron had re-equipped with reconnaissance Canberra aircraft in mid-1956, there was to be a conversion of another 3 of the Station's squadrons in 1957. The Canberra changeover of yet another resident squadron followed in 1958. The Base's strength peaked to almost 4100, however, there was still much to be done. In fact, it was not until 1959/1960 that permanent air traffic control and air operations facilities for the multi-squadron Flying Wing were ready for occupation and the tents, caravans and huts, which had to serve until then, abandoned.

Christmas 1963 once more saw the Station standing-to; this time for the first troubles between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, occurring scarcely three years after the Republic had gained its independence. The following year was to be another filled with change. Missile-armed, all-weather fighters known as Javelins, arrived to augment the existing air defence capability, with Lightning interceptors to reinforce them.

In the early 1970s Akrotiri was described as 'an air-force in miniature on just one Station'. Certainly, by this time 5 resident squadrons covered almost every aspect of the use of airpower: No 56 with Lightning interceptors; Nos 9 and 35 with Vulcan bombers; No 70 with Hercules and Argosy transports; and a more recent acquisition, No 84 with Whirlwind search-and-rescue helicopters.

Akrotiri - Royal Air Force UK AirfieldIntercommunal Fighting

Cyprus was to be plunged into another crisis, drawing all the Sovereign Bases' resources into play at both ends of the island when intercommunal fighting began in 1974. For RAF Akrotiri the main task was initially centred on the rescue and evacuation of tourists of many nations seeking sanctuary in the over-crowded SBAs. Aircraft of No 70 Squadron provided the on-island airlift, flying evacuees into Akrotiri for onward routeing to the UK by RAF long-range transport aircraft or civil airliner. One trip had 22 different nationalities on the aircraft. As fighting continued, the decision was taken to evacuate British Service families and a second and more intensive airlift operation was mounted: some 9000 people of nearly 50 nationalities were moved under RAF control and the 1974 RAF award of the Wilkinson Sword of Peace went to RAF Akrotiri for the active assistance it had given to people of all nations. In the same year, the Station's search-and-rescue capability had saved 27 lives at sea. Late in 1974, just as the dust was settling, the new passenger terminal came into use to replace the stores hangar that had been a make-shift conversion 11 years earlier, and which had coped with 13000 passengers every month as well as handling 24 million pounds of air-cargo per year.

The Present

Not much has changed operationally at RAF Akrotiri in recent years, but the only operational flying squadron which is permanently based at Akrotiri today is No 84 Squadron. No 34 Squadron RAF Regiment continued to serve on-island until 1996 when they moved back to the UK. Their place was taken by personnel from the resident Army infantry battalion (RIB). In 1986 one event dominated - on Sunday, 3 August , RAF Akrotiri suffered an attack by mortar and automatic fire. The Station responded by raising its security awareness to the high levels which are still obvious today. The Operations Centres (Ground and Air) maintain a constant watch in conjunction with the SBA Police - just in case. In 1988 a new command structure in Cyprus resulted in the closure of Air Headquarters and Headquarters Land Forces Cyprus, both based at Episkopi and instead the formation of a Joint Headquarters - British Forces Cyprus. Shortly afterwards, in 1989 Joint Units were also formed at Akrotiri, replacing single service Units such as 17 Ordnance Battalion (RAOC), 58 Squadron (RCT), 48 Cyprus.


Address: HQ SBAA
Block A, Episkopi, BFPO 53

E-mail: bill at rafakrotiri co uk

Tel: (00357) 99067712

WEB: http://www.rafakrotiri.co.uk/


Images and information placed above are from
http://www.rafakrotiri.co.uk/

We thank them for the data!

General Info
Country Cyprus
ICAO ID LCRA
Time UTC+2(+3DT)
Latitude 34.590417
34° 35' 25.50" N
Longitude 32.987861
032° 59' 16.30" E
Elevation 76 feet
23 meters
Type Military
Magnetic Variation 003° E (01/05)
Beacon Yes
Operating Agency ROYAL AIR FORCE UK
Operating Hours SEE REMARKS FOR OPERATING HOURS OR COMMUNICATIONS FOR POSSIBLE HOURS
Daylight Savings Time Last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October


Communications
TWR 122.1
309.975
257.8
OPS 358.6
GND 261.0
DIRECTOR 122.1
123.3
360.65
344.0
ATIS 288.2
APP 122.1
340.25
362.3
Communications Remarks  
ATIS Fone C011-357-527-6076


Runways
ID
Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
10/28 8999 x 200 feet
2743 x 61 meters
ASPHALT - YES


Navaids
Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
TACAN AKR AKROTIRI 107X - 1.4 NM 058.2


Supplies/Equipment
Fuel Jet A1+, Jet A1 with icing inhibitor.

Jet A1, without icing nhibitor.
Oil O-149, Aircraft Turbine Engine Synthetic 7.5c St

O-156, MIL L 23699 (Synthetic Base)Turboprop/Turboshaft Engine
Other Fluids W, Water Thrust Augmentation - Jet Aircraft

WAI, Water-Alcohol Injection Type, Thrust Augmenation-Jet Aircraft

LHOX, Low and high pressure oxygen servicing

LOX, Liquid oxygen servicing

OXRB, Oxygen replacement bottles


Remarks
A-GEAR . Jet acft to start tkof 130' fr thld (mrk by 2 stub bars) to avoid barrier damage. Nml ops posn, both cables de-rigged.
CAUTION Exp QFE altimeter setting. Rdo mast 385' 2.5 NM NNE of arpt.
CSTMS/IMG CSTMS avbl.
FLUID W WAI LHOX LOX OXRB
FUEL (NC-A1, A1+)
JASU 1(A1) 1(A2) 1(A4) 1(C5) 1(C6) 1(E2) 1(E3) 1(E4) 1(E5) 1(E10) 1(E11) 1(E12)
MISC Copter act. MSA over Cyprus is 8700'. Base OPS fone C011-357-527-6370/ 6664.
NS ABTMT Avoid ovft hosp 3 NM SW blw 2000'. Avoid ovft of domestic area.
OIL O-149-156
OPR HOURS Opr 0500-1700Z Mon-Fri; PPR Sat, Sun.
RSTD PPR.

Runway 10/28

8999 x 200 feet
2743 x 61 meters

Runway 10
Surface ASPHALT
True Heading 108.0
Latitude 34.594167
34° 35' 39.00" N
Longitude 32.973500
032° 58' 24.60" E
Elevation 56.0 feet
17 meters
Slope 0.0°
Landing Distance 8999 feet
2743 meters
Takeoff Distance 9204 feet
2805 meters
Overrun Length 205 feet
62 meters
Overrun Surface ASPHALT
Lighting System HIRL
M
PAPI

Runway 28
Surface ASPHALT
True Heading 288.0
Latitude 34.586667
34° 35' 12.00" N
Longitude 33.002000
033° 00' 07.20" E
Elevation 59.0 feet
18 meters
Slope 0.0°
Landing Distance 8999 feet
2743 meters
Takeoff Distance 9204 feet
2805 meters
Overrun Length 205 feet
62 meters
Overrun Surface ASPHALT
Lighting System HIRL
J
PAPI

Navaids

AKROTIRI
Type ID Channel Freq Country State
TACAN AKR 107X - Cyprus -
Latitude Longitude Airport
34.579389
34° 34' 45.80" N
32.962833
032° 57' 46.20" E
LCRA

 


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The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2005.
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