RAF Holbeach History

RAF Holbeach Range
RAF Holbeach Crest
© Crown Copyright/MOD 2010
Airfield Code: N/AGoogle Earth Co-ordinates:
52° 54'0.0"N    0° 3'36.0"E
Runways: N/A
Station History

RAF Holbeach is a RAF bombing range situated between Boston and Kings Lynn on The Wash, and was opened in 1928. The range was administered by RAF Marham as an Air Weapons Range within RAF Strike Command. On 1st April 2006 control was transferred to Defence Estates and the range is now administered by Defence Training Estates (East) from their headquarters at West Tofts Camp near Thetford.

The range provides facilities for RAF and other NATO aircraft to practice dropping bombs and firing their cannon. Targets include several old trawlers which have been beached on the sands of The Wash for this purpose. Towers parallel to the target line are manned and allow the fall of the weapons to be triangulated.

RAF Holbeach also has facilities for scoring strafing runs. Originally using the DelMar Acoustiscore system, this was superseded in 1995 by the MS Instruments PLC Strafe Scoring System. The strafing targets are a number of three-metre square net with an orange bullseye made by weaving plastic strips through the chicken-wire net. The Strafe Scoring detects the X-Y position of the projectile from the acoustic signature of the supersonic shockwave. This result is sent by radio to the control tower, where it is displayed to the Air Traffic Controller for relaying to the pilot. The range also has semi-automatic bomb and rocket scoring systems provided by MS Instruments PLC.