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MOD Boscombe Down has provided a base for the testing and evaluation of military aircraft since 1939, although the site was originally an airfield used for training aircrews during the First World War. Located on the outskirts of Amesbury in Wiltshire, the 1,403 acre site features two operational runways - including the longest military runway in the UK - as well as extensive facilities to undertake a wide range of test, evaluation, demonstration and consultancy programmes. It is also the home of the world’s first test pilot school (ETPS) that, today, provides world-class training for flight test professionals of both civilian and military customers.

The airfield and all of the infrastructure at MOD Boscombe Down have been operated by QinetiQ on behalf of the Ministry of Defence since 2001 as part of a twenty-five year Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA). In excess of 2000 people work at the site, including aviation engineers, research scientists, air traffic control specialists, meteorologists, emergency services personnel, pilots and ground support teams. As well as providing a base for pioneering work in many areas of aviation science and technology, MOD Boscombe Down has also provided the UK government with ad hoc emergency response facilities such as receiving Boeing 747 repatriation flights during the Coronavirus global pandemic.

Specialist facilities at MOD Boscombe Down cover a wide range of aviation technologies and areas of expertise. These include environmental testing, airworthiness, avionics and unmanned aerial systems to advanced testing capabilities for night vision, radio and electromagnetic systems. Both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft operate from the site including from Chinook heavy transport helicopters and Typhoon fast jets to high specification and high performance training helicopters and turboprop aircraft.