This survey details the reassessment of aircraft activity at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall, based on the last environmental noise study undertaken in 1994 to readjust the contour levels defined to the Noise Amelioration Scheme (Military) (NAS(M)) criteria. Contours in the 1994 report were drawn to the standard at the time which was set by the Noise Insulation Grant Scheme (NIGS), requiring noise contours to be drawn at 83 and 70 dB LAeq,16hr. NAS(M) requires contours to be drawn at 72, 66 and 63 LAeq, 16hr.
History of the airfields
RAF Lakenheath opened in November 1941 as a satellite airfield for RAF Mildenhall. By the end of 1943, Lakenheath was functioning as an independent operational unit. No. 199 Squadron arrived in June 1943 and both squadrons were involved in the raid on the Peenemunde in August 1944 causing damage to Germany’s ‘V’ weapon development centre. By mid 1944 Lakenheath was serving in a support role until the station closed for extensive runway rebuilding to accommodate heavy bombers. RAF Lakenheath reopened in the spring of 1947.
By mid August 1948 the 2nd Bombardment Group arrived with American B-29s. Between August 1948 and January 1960, a number of bomber and fighter bomber units were temporarily assigned to Lakenheath as part of Strategic Air Command’s Cold War rotation. The U.S. Air Force assumed administrative control of the base May 1, 1951.
In January 1960 Lakenheath became the home of the USAF 48th Tactical Fighter Wing. RAF Lakenheath also served as a rotational base for Strategic Air Command B-47 and B-52 aircraft throughout the Berlin Crisis. This requirement ended in mid 1963. 1972 to 1977 saw the arrival of the F-4 Phantom in replacement for the F-1000Ds. March 1977 saw the arrival of the first of three F111Fs which continued in operation until December 1991 when the F111s begun to be replaced by the F15 Strike Eagle which continues as the home aircraft at the base to this day.
Mildenhall was opened in 1934 and was home to a number of bomber squadrons throughout the second world war. Mildenhall took part in the bomber offensive against Germany using Wellingtons, Stirlings, and Lancasters. After the war, the station remained under RAF Bomber Command flying Lancasters, and Lincolns.
In 1950 it was transferred to the USAF under the control of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and flying the B-47 and B-50. In more recent times it has been involved in tactical airlift, airborne command and control, air to air refueling, and strategic reconnaissance duties using a variety of different aircraft including the C-124 Globemaster, C-133 Cargomaster, C-130 Hercules, C-141 Starlifter, C-5 Galaxy, tanker aircraft EC-135, E-3A Sentry (AWACS).