Military Wiki
Camp Bastion
U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter at Camp Bastion in 2013
Airport type Military
Owner  United Kingdom
Operator British Armed Forces
Location Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Built 2006
In use 2006–present
Commander RAF Group Captain Tony Innes, Commander Bastion and Commanding Officer 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.[1]
Elevation AMSL 2,805 ft / 855 m
Coordinates 31°51′50″N 64°13′29″E / 31.86389°N 64.22472°E / 31.86389; 64.22472 (Camp Bastion Airport (Camp Bastion))Coordinates: 31°51′50″N 64°13′29″E / 31.86389°N 64.22472°E / 31.86389; 64.22472 (Camp Bastion Airport (Camp Bastion))
Website Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation - Bastion

Lua error in Module:Location_map at line 510: Unable to find the specified location map definition: "Module:Location map/data/Afghanistan" does not exist.Location in Afghanistan

Direction Length Surface
ft m
01/19 11,482 3,500 Concrete/Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
01/19 656 200 Concrete
Garrison of 11,000–12,000 troops.[3]

Camp Bastion is the main British military base in Afghanistan. Accommodating 28,000 people it is situated northwest of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, and exists to be the logistics hub for operations in Helmand.[4] It is the largest British overseas military camp built since the Second World War.[5]

Built in early 2006 by personnel from 39 Engineer Regiment Royal Engineers and various contracting firms, all under the supervision of 62 Works Group Royal Engineers, the camp is situated in a remote desert area, far from population centres. Four miles long by two miles wide, it has a busy airfield and a field hospital and originally had full accommodation for the 2000 men and women.

The base is divided into a number of different sections (Bastions). Bastion 1 and 2 were the first sections with Bastion 2 containing Camp Barber (US) and Camp Viking (DK), Bastion 0 was added in around 2010 and houses the contractors and Bastion 3 is used for in-theatre training.

Bastion also adjoins Camp Leatherneck (US) (which also contains Camp Tombstone) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) Camp Shorabak.

In November 2006, Tony Blair visited Camp Bastion, and, while addressing a gathering of British troops, described it as an "extraordinary piece of desert ... where the fate of world security in the early 21st century is going to be decided".[6]

In May 2013 the BBC obtained documents showing that up to 85 Afghan nationals were being detained at Camp Bastion.[7] Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, has confirmed that the UK is holding "80 or 90 Afghan detainees" at the base.[8] The Ministry of Defence maintains the detention of the Afghans is legal.[8]


Camp Bastion was built in early 2006 by 39 Engineer Regiment from the Royal Engineers. The camp was specifically in a remote desert area far from population which allows clear vision to spot attackers and originally had full accommodation for the 2000 men and women.[9] The camp is divided in different areas called "Bastions" with Bastion 1 and 2 being the first sections to be created. Bastion 2 originally contained Camp Barber (United States) and Camp Viking (Denmark).[citation needed]

According to the Royal Air Force Camp Bastion includes Bastion Airfield, Bastion Garrison and Camp Leatherneck.[10]

The first runway set up in April 2006 was designed to handle no more than three aircraft movements per week. However by late 2007 a 2,350 metres (7,710 ft) long and 28 metres (92 ft) wide concrete runway became operational enabling the number of movements to rise to 5,000 per month by the end of 2008. However in February 2011 construction of a new 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) runway was completed and can now handle almost all commercial and military aircraft. The old shorter runway is now only used as a parallel taxiway.[citation needed]

During August 2013 the Headquarters of Task Force Helmand moved from Lashkar Gah to Bastion.[11]

Accidents and incidents

The base has been attacked several times including on 14 September 2012, when two United States Marine Corps (USMC) service personnel were killed[12] and six USMC McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier IIs were destroyed and two were "significantly damaged." Three refuelling stations were also destroyed, with six soft-skin aircraft hangars damaged. Of the 15 Taliban attackers, 14 were killed and 1 captured.[13]

Current use

Camp Bastion airfield and heliport handles 600 fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft movements every day, operating combat, medical and logistics flights.[4] Its air traffic controllers are integral to the support of the UK's operations in southern Afghanistan and the Air Traffic Control Squadron at Camp Bastion is the first to recruit and train US Marines to UK air traffic control standards.[14] It has now grown to become the fifth-busiest UK-operated airport.[citation needed]

In 2013, the British opened a training school for Afghan troops at Camp Bastion, as part of their exit from Afghanistan strategy.[15]

During 2014 Camp Bastion is expected to be transferred to the American forces with Camp Leatherneck being closed.[16]

Operational units

Bastion Airfield

British Armed Forces

United States Armed Forces

Bastion Garrison:

  • Joint Force Medical Group.[20]
  • Military Working Dogs Squadron.[18]
  • Crew Training School (for vehicles).[21]
  • Bastion Force Protection Wing.[22]


An ambulance waits to receive a casualty from a Chinook on the helipad.

An MRI machine is set up at the Role 3 Medical Facility

Camp Bastion's Hospital is operated by regular and reserve personnel of the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force of the Joint Force Medical Group[20] as well as medical assets from the US Army to include Orthopaedic Surgeons, General Surgeons, Anesthetists, Nurses and Medics, and is the location to where wounded military personnel from the British, US and other ISAF forces in Helmand Province are evacuated to from the battlefield and treated, supported by US Army, Navy, and Air Force medics, or from where they are evacuated to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Afghan nationals are also treated at the hospital in many circumstances including accidental injuries and road traffic collisions. Currently they are the busiest Role 3 NATO hospital in Afghanistan.[citation needed]

In popular culture

Camp Bastion has been featured in several documentaries, often focusing on medical evacuations.

  • The Air Hospital (Channel 4) - Aired 25 March 2010.[23]
  • Frontline Medicine (BBC 2) - Aired 20 and 27 November 2011.[24]
  • Extraordinary Dogs (Documentary Channel).[25]
  • Prince Harry: Frontline Afghanistan (BBC3) - Aired 28 January 2013.[26]

See also


  1. "Change Of Command For CO 903 EAW At Camp Bastion". 4 February 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  2. "Commander Bastion takes charge of UK's main Helmand base and its airfield". 18 Oct 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  3. Airport record for Camp Bastion Airport at Retrieved 1-8-2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Camp Bastion doubles in size". 18 May 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  5. "Building Camp Bastion". 24 February 2006. Retrieved 25 September 2007. [dead link]
  6. Patrick Wintour (21 November 2006). "Bleak Camp Bastion - and a vision of roses and saffron". Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
  7. Casciani, Dominic; Coleman, Clive (29 May 2013). "Afghans 'unlawfully held' by UK forces at Camp Bastion". London: BBC News. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Afghans 'Detained Illegally' At Camp Bastion, Lawyers Claim". The Huffington Post. 29 May 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  9. Raymond Whitaker (3 December 2006). "Camp Bastion: Welcome to Helmand". Retrieved 25 September 2007. 
  10. "903 Expeditionary Air Wing". RAF. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  11. "British headquarters in Afghanistan moves to Camp Bastion". BBC. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  12. "US marines killed in Afghan attack on Camp Bastion". 15 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012. 
  13. "ISAF provides additional details on Camp Bastion attack". 16 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  14. "IN PICTURES: New runway takes shape at Camp Bastion". 27 July 2007. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  15. "Afghan Army trained by British troops". Manchester, UK. 12 October 2013. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. 
  16. "Britain to hand over Camp Bastion to US forces". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  17. "903 Expeditionary Air Wing". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Princess Anne flies into Camp Bastion to boost morale among troops in run-up to Christmas". 18 December 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  19. "Focus on Task Force Jaguar". 6 August 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "RAF Chinooks continue operations In Afghanistan - Tactical and Strategic Aeromedical Evacuation". Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  21. "Foxhounds put through their paces". Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  22. "RAF protecting Camp Bastion". 25 June 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  23. "The Air Hospital". 25 March 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  24. "TV programme showcases military medics' work in Helmand". 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  25. "Extraordinary Dogs". Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  26. "Prince Harry: Frontline Afghanistan". BBC Three. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 

External links

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