MORÓN AMERICAN AIR BASE
by Saskia Mier
Construction of the air base, which was originally called "Aeródromo Militar Vázquez Sagastizabal", began in 1940. As from the following year, the base was already operational and served as a base for the training of fighter pilots of the Spanish Air Force.
In 1953, in context of the Guerra Fría (Cold War) and by virtue of the Madrid Pacts in 1953, Spain decided to cede the use of four military bases to the United States. These were the air bases of, Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid), Zaragoza (Aragón), Morón de la Frontera (Seville), as well as the naval base of Rota (Cádiz).
In 1991, the Air Force of the United States (USAF) withdrew from Torrejón de Ardoz and later in 2004 from Zaragoza, however remaining in Morón de la Frontera and the US Navy in Rota. At present, the Morón de la Frontera Air Base houses:
- 11th wing of the Spanish Air Force, equipped with the latest generation Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft;
- 221 Squadron, with the P-3 Orion of Maritime Patrol;
- 2nd Air Deployment Support Squadron (SEADA);
- Permanent Detachment of the Customs Surveillance Service, operated by Ala 37;
- 2nd Emergency Intervention Battalion of the Military Emergency Unit (UME-BIEM II);
- 496 ABS Squadron and the 18th SSS of the United States Air Force;
In June 2015 the Spanish government signed an agreement with the United States whereby the US military presence at the base became permanent, also allowing the installation of a base for possible military interventions in Africa, as well as up to 2,200 soldiers, 500 American civilians and parking of 26 aircrafts.
In the summer of 2016, the Air Base of Morón de la Frontera made headlines for receiving the then, President Obama, who made a visit to both bases of Morón and Rota to consolidate strategic alliances in the face of new threats.
The Military Air Base is located north west of Morón de la Frontera.