The National Museum located in the Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
A Wright Patterson base member lowering the flag during a formal retreat ceremony.
A C-5 galaxy transport aircraft parked in the 445th air wing.
Evacuation of the air traffic control tower at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) is located in the province of Dayton, Ohio in the US. It is one of the largest and complex bases controlled by the United States Air Force. The base is operated by Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC).

WPAFB is the fifth-largest employer in Ohio, providing about 25,000 jobs. It is currently being used as a military air force base. The base was formed by combining the Wright and Patterson Fields in January 1948. The fields were originally known as Wilbur Wright Field and Fair Field aviation depot.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base history

The Army Air Service built three military installations – Wilbur Wright, Fair Field aviation depot and McCook Field near the Dayton region. The base was established with Wilbur Wright and McCook Fields in May 1917 and November 1917 respectively.

McCook Field (MCF), located 16km north-east of Dayton, was used for field and aviation experiments. Located 8km north-east of Dayton, the Wright Field was used as a flying field and temporary storage depot. The MCF has used hangar, shop space and mechanics of Wilbur Wright Field to assemble and maintain airplanes and engines.

“Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) is located in the province of Dayton, Ohio in the US.”

In October 1927, the MCF was shut down and the operations were transferred to Wright Field. The Wright and Patterson Fields (including Wilbur Wright Field and Fair Field aviation depot) are now designated as area B and area C in the base. The main purpose of the base is to provide logistics, research and development, and military education.

Expansion of the two fields took place during the Second World War. The workforce in the base increased from 3,700 to 50,000 at the war’s peak. The building installations were raised from 30 to 300 along with the first modern paved runways. In addition, laboratory buildings and test facilities were also built at the base.

The operations of the materiel division were categorised into two separate commands namely the Materiel Command and the Air Service Command. The Materiel Command was responsible for acquiring airplanes and equipment, while the Air Service Command headquartered at Patterson Field offered logistical operations including maintenance and supply. In August 1944, the two commands were united and named Air Technical Service Command. The base operates C-5 galaxy airlifter.

Garrison facilities

The base houses headquarters of the 88th Air Base Wing, Air Force Materiel Command, USAF Medical Centre, Air Force Institute of Technology, US Air Force Museum, 445th Airlift Wing, Air Mobility Command-gained unit, Aeronautical Systems Centre, Air Force Research Laboratory and other 15 units.

The 88th Air Base Wing operates the airfield, maintains infrastructure, and provides security, communications, medical, legal, personnel, contracting, finance, transportation, and air traffic control. It also offers information on weather forecasting, public affairs, recreation and chaplain services to more than 60 consolidated units.

The AFMC offers logistic support services for sustainment of air force weapon systems.

The National Museum located within WPAFB is the largest and the oldest military aviation museum in the US. Around 400 aircraft and missiles are showcased in the museum. It draws about 1.3 million visitors a year.

Control tower

The air traffic control tower is located in the 88th wing. The control tower was constructed by demolishing a portion of the air force building. The tower is 110ft tall and includes the base operations and airfield management offices. The airfield controls of the tower are located in the eighth floor. It is made of structural steel, concrete slab on deck at each floor level. The exterior is furnished with composite aluminium panels above and below the cab level.


The fire and crash rescue equipment of the WPAFB are situated in three different locations of area A and area C namely the main fire station, the flight line station and a hangar. A new facility is being designed to consolidate the fire protection function under a single roof. It reduces the operational costs and workforce while enhancing the operational efficiency of the fire department. The station provides overhauling services to 14 vehicles ranging from small trucks to structural fire trucks.

Other facilities and future development

The base has 2,012 housing units and a 3,200ft² community centre. Recreational facilities include arts and crafts centre, wood hobby shop, frame shop, multicraft classrooms, graphics shop, silk screening and a resale area, hunting and fishing programmes.

A $332m contract was awarded to Butt Construction by the US Air Force for relocating facilities or operations from other military bases to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as part of the base realignment and closure (BRAC) programme.

“The WPAFB is the fifth-largest employer in Ohio, providing about 25,000 jobs.”

The scope of the work includes design and construction of consolidated structures, a research laboratory, air traffic control tower, convert fitness centre, child development centre complex, and materials laboratory (metals and ceramics). The company is also involved in renovating the building S2, upgrading first and second floors of south wing building 22, overhauling dodge gym, and renovating page manor school. The entire work under the BRAC programme is scheduled for completion by September 2011.

US Air Force Research Laboratory awarded a six-year $22.7m contract to a science and technology firm UES to carry out research and development in advanced metallics and ceramic structure materials. The new materials developed by UES will be used in turbine engines, high energy lasers, rocket engines and hot metallic structures.

In September 2009, UES took up research and development for nano and biological materials under a separate $44.5m contract.

IMAGINiT will upload autotodesk FMDesktop software at the base to manage the physical assets and infrastructure.