Although this is hardly a 'secret' airstrip, there has been much contraversy and speculation that it may be used for testing top secret spaceplanes like the Blackswift from Lockheed Skunkworks
Campbeltown Airport (IATA: CAL, ICAO: EGEC) is located 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) west of Campbeltown, near the tip of the Kintyre peninsula on the west coast of Scotland. It is still owned by the Ministry of Defence, under a 'care and maintenance' programme, but a part of the airfield is now run as a commercial enterprise by the Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, a company under the control of the Scottish Executive.
The airport was formerly known as RAF Machrihanish, (after the village of Machrihanish) and hosted squadrons of the Royal Air Force and other NATO airforces as well as the United States Marine Corps. It is now called MoD Machrihanish. The airport is at a strategic point over the Irish sea, and was used to guard the entrance to the Firth of Clyde where US nuclear submarines were based at Holy Loch and where Royal Navy Trident missile submarines are still based at HMNB Clyde (Faslane Naval Base).
At 3,049 metres, Runway 11/29 at Campbeltown Airport is the longest of any public airport in Scotland. It was built in World War II to permit heavily-fuelled aircraft to take off on transatlantic flights and is certificated to accept the Space Shuttle should it need to make landfall in Europe, and provides for the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft to get airborne again.
Campbeltown Aerodrome has a CAA] Ordinary Licence (Number P808) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee (Highlands & Islands Airports Limited)
1941 Opened also HMS Landrail 1995-Present Care & Maintenance
RAF Machrihanish is a former Royal Air Force station located three miles (5 km) from the town of Campbeltown at the tip of Kintyre. It is now known as MoD Machrihanish and also incorporates Campbeltown Airport which has commercial flights to Glasgow, operated by Loganair.
Its runway is 3,049 m long. The United States maintained a Navy SEAL commando unit, a 20 person team known as Naval Special Warfare Detachment 1 (The other overseas Naval Special Warfare Detachments, 2 and 3 were based at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and Subic Bay, Philippines) at the base and the Royal Marines occasionally use the facility for training exercises. The civilian airport is located at the opposite end of the base from the hangars, bunkers and the SEAL building.
During the Cold War, Machrihanish was an strategically important North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) airfield, with its location giving immediate access to patrol & support naval operation over the North Atlantic. Also as a stopping point for transatlantic military flights.
An answer to the House of Commons in 2004 reveals that the base was handed over by the United States Navy back to Ministry of Defence control on June 30, 1995.
The base is now on what is termed
"care and maintenance" — this allows the airfield to be used by civilian
airlines, which may conduct scheduled and charter flights from the aerodrome.
The MoD are responsible for the upkeep of the aerodrome, which may sometimes
be used by military detachment whilst on exercise. During times of conflict
or national emergency, the aerodrome could revert to its intended military
use. In 2005 the MoD was still reported to
be considering reactivating the base.
Other than this new large hanger there is no sign of any activity on the base as per this google time frame... even the parking lots of the housing are empty...
Dreamland Resort has put together an excellent page on this location with close up photographs and latest updates...
On a global scale, there are many military installations, which conduct covert testing but at the same time, remain pretty much unknown to the general public. One of these bases is located on the West Coast of Scotland, RAF Machrihanish. Many rumors have came out of the area for over 10 years from the secret hypersonic spy plane "Aurora" being operated from the base, to the other extreme of crashed UFO's being dismantled and reversed engineered at the base. As with most things of this nature, the only people who really know the truth, are the people who conduct these operations, everyone else can only look at what evidence there is regarding the activities of these installations and then make their own assessment based on what they have learned.
SOURCE: RAF Machrihanish By Kevin
Reports of plans for a high-performance piloted replacement for the SR-71 date back more than a decade. In 1979 it was reported that a:
"... Mach 4, 200,000-ft.-altitude aircraft that could be a follow-on to the Lockheed SR-71 strategic reconnaissance vehicle in the 1990s has been defined by the Air Force Aeronautical Systems Division and Lockheed."
As previously noted, reports of the existence of a successor to the SR-71 surfaced repeatedly during the debate over termination of the SR-71. Subsequent observations of mysterious aerial phenomena have been connected with the 1988 reports that Aurora was a Mach 6 stealthy reconnaissance aircraft that was being developed to replace the SR-71. - Global Security
According to another report, by mid-1992:
"... Aurora was being flown from a base in the Nevada desert to an atoll in the Pacific, then on to Scotland to refuel before returning to the US at night. Specially modified tanker aircraft are being used to top up Aurora's tanks with liquid methane fuel in mid-air... The US Air Force is using the remote RAF airbase at Machrihanish, Strathclyde, as a staging point... The mystery aircraft has been dropping in at night before streaking back to America across the North Pole at more than six times the speed of sound... An F-111 fighter bomber is scrambling as the black-painted aircraft lands, flying in close formation to confuse prying civilian radars." - Global Security
In early 1992 it was reported that:
"... RAF radars have acquired the hypersonic target travelling at speeds ranging from about Mach 6 to Mach 3 over a NATO-RAF base at Machrihanish, Scotland, near the tip of the Kintyre peninsula, last November and again this past January."
It was recently reported than on 27 September 1995 David Morris of Walsall, Cornwall UK took a picture of a triangular shaped plane being refueled by a KC-135, and flanked by a pair of F-111s. The unknown aircraft appeared to be about three-quarters the size of the KC-135. This picture has been widely distributed. However, the "refuelling" picture is a hoax -- it was montaged by Bill Rose for the October 1995 issue of Astronomy Now (UK) magazine. There, it is captioned "A simulation of the refuelling of the top secret 'Aurora'. Photo composition by Bill Rose."
Kevin Paterson is a photographer and photo journalist that has taken a particular interest in RAF Machrihanish. He has gathered a lot of infomation and photos. Below is a short excerpt... visit his site for the full story..
This section of the site represents a long and exciting research project into what can initialy appear to be a run down and disused RAF station in a remote part of Scotland. It is only when one looks deeper into the history of the base, that the fascinating "truth" unfolds.
The irony is, that the truth regarding RAF Machrihanish, and past activities remains unclear. Many of the details to surface around the base are rumours or hearsay, but does that make then untrue? Often people use the line "prove it happened." I tend to take the approach of "prove it didnt happen."
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