Definitions

Bodø Main Air Station

Bodø Main Air Station

Bodø Main Air Station (Norwegian: Bodø hovedflystasjon is situated just outside Bodø, Norway and is the largest air station in Norway, operated by the Royal Norwegian Air Force. This air station is the home of the 331st and the 332nd Squadron of F-16s in addition to a detachment from the 330th Squadron of Westland Sea King helicopters. Bodø MAS is also the producer of the NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System). Near the air station, at Bodin, there is an air force training base. Also at the station is the civilian Bodø Airport.

The air force base is manned by approximately 450 conscripted recruits, with 1000 employees in total. Bodø Main Air Station hosts 50% of the Norwegian jet fighter force. Their main objectives are to train new pilots and to maintain two fighters at immediate readiness for NATO. The Sea King aircraft are used for search and rescue operations.

History

Before the outbreak of WW II Bodø did not have an Airfield. All air communication was managed with seaplanes by the Norwegian company Widerøe.

World War II

It was not until 1940 that a runway was laid. Two Sandringham transports flew in from the United Kingdom with engineers and selected a swamp outside the centre of Bodø to host the new runway. The inhabitants of Bodø were only happy to help their British allies against their common foe Nazi-Germany. On May 26, three British Gloster Gladiators landed and made out the first airborne defence for the city. As soon as the day after, they were in combat with German warplanes that insisted on bombing the docks and the new airfield. Although the three English pilots fought hard, they were all shot down by the superior Luftwaffe and Bodø was destroyed, though the docks and the airfield were not destroyed.

During WW2 the airstrip consisted of a wood planked runway approximately 1200 metres long. This runway mainly served Ju-88 light bombers and a unit of Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers.

An SS report held at the Berlin Document Centre states that the second Ju-390 prototype was loaded at Schweidnitz near Breslau in April 1945 for the evacuation of Kammler's Bell project. The aircraft said to be painted in Sweedish Air Force markings, then flew to Bodo.

That report is corroborated by Polish interrogation reports declassified in 1998 and cited by Polish author Igor Witowski. One report featured the interrogations of SS-Gruppenfuehrer Jakob Sporrenberg, in charge of security in wartime Norway.

Allied Intelligence reports from May 1944 based on Enigma intercepts disclosed trials of the Ju-290 aircraft with four tail parachutes to shorten runway requirements by 60%. By this method and it's nine wheeled undercarriage it is possible that the Ju-390 could have used Bodo.

When the Second World War ended, the Norwegians took control of the airport and in 1950 the modern history of the airfield begins. The airport has undergone major modernization and expansion projects up to the present day. In 1988 NATO injected vast amounts of money to enable the airfield to handle large air forces in the event of an emergency.

Cold War

During the Cold War the station was one of the most important Norwegian bases. During the event of a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and NATO Bodø Main Air Stations primary function was to contribute with fighter aircraft to open Soviet air defence systems. The plan was the when the airspace was open, B-52 bombers belonging to Strategic Air Command (SAC) were to go into Soviet and drop Nuclear weapons on cities and military installations. During the cold war the Norwegian government did not allow placement of nuclear weapons in the kingdom during peace, but Bodø Main Air Station had specially built storage to receive nuclear weapons for storage in a war or during a crisis.

No other area in the NATO alliance confronted Soviet counterparts face-to-face as frequently as the Norwegian fighter squadrons at Bodø during the Cold War. At the height of the Cold War they scrambled to the skies on a daily basis and saw up to 200 confrontations a year.

Aircraft that have been stationed at Bodø

Multiple aircraft have been stationed at Bodø, some of these are:

Accidents and incidents

Lockheed U-2 spyplanes were stationed at Bodø in 1958. On May 1 1960 a U-2 plane piloted by Gary Powers was headed for Bodø from Peshawar, Pakistan but was shot down over the Soviet Union, causing the U-2 Crisis of 1960.

External links

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