Concept

RAF Ascension Island

Summary
RAF Ascension Island , also known as Wideawake Airfield or Ascension Island Auxiliary Field, is a military airfield and facility located on Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean. The airfield is jointly operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the United States Space Force (USSF). Under the terms of an international agreement between the UK and US governments, only state aircraft (e.g. military and diplomatic flights) are authorised to land at Ascension; however, it is also open to air services between Saint Helena and Ascension. The facility is home to a U.S. Space Force ground tracking station in support of the Eastern Range and rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. In 1939 Ascension became important as a high-frequency direction finding radio station covering trade routes. Wideawake Airfield (named after a noisy colony of sooty terns nearby) was built by the US military in 1942 by arrangement with the British government. The airfield was built using a US task force. The work was done by the USAAF 38th Engineer Combat Regiment and the airfield opened on 10 July 1942. The first aircraft to land on Ascension Island was a Fairey Swordfish from HMS Archer in June, 1942 and it went on to be used by more than 25,000 aircraft as a staging point during the Second World War. An unusual visitor was a captured German Junkers 88 bomber, which landed there in October 1943 as it was being flown from the Middle East to the United States in stages. A U.S. Air Force tracking station (now administered by the U.S. Space Force) was officially activated as a satellite of Patrick Air Force Base (now Patrick Space Force Base) in Florida on 25 June 1956. The airfield's runway was extended in the latter part of 1980. The base was re-garrisoned by the RAF in 1982 and used extensively as a staging airfield during the Falklands War. At one stage, Wideawake became the busiest airport in the world for the number of aircraft movements. A series of long-range bombing raids was carried out from there under the name Operation Black Buck.
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