Upper Heyford airforce base was first used in 1915. It saw continuous service from the mid 20s and became a US airforce base from the 50s. In the 70s 56 existing steel hangars were encased in over 600mm (2 feet) of a special recipe super-hardened concrete using granite shipped from Cornwall. The base was used for nuclear armed F1-11 fighter bombers, and included a Quick Readiness Alert (QRA) enclosure. The planes inside the nine aircraft shelters in the QRA, and the staff supporting them, were in perpetual readiness, engines running 24 hours a day in case a Soviet attack occurred. This extra secure enclosure, on an already secure air field site, has a double perimeter, razor-wire fence around it and a watch-tower at its heart.
The site was sold by the MOD in 1993 when the USAF left following the end of the Cold War and is a conservation area, with the QRA scheduled as a Cold War historical monument. NCS successfully demonstrated to English Heritage and the Secretary of State that, with Restore, we could be trusted to convert and maintain these important heritage buildings sensitively, with conservation in mind, as heritage storage buildings.
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