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Thule Air Base

Thule Air Base is the United States Department of Defense’s northernmost installation located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, 947 miles south of the North Pole on the northwest side of the island of Greenland, and is approximately 550 miles east of the North Magnetic Pole.

Located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, Greenland is the world’s largest island. The term Greenland is “Kalaallit Nunaat" in the Inuit language. It is a country within the Kingdom of Denmark and inhabited by approximately 56,000 people.

Thule, pronounced tool- lee, is from the Latin word with the same spelling meaning “northernmost part of the habitable world.” Greenland covers nearly 840,000 square miles; more than 80 percent is covered either by the ice cap or smaller glaciers.

Thule is a land of contrasts. The perimeter of Greenland consists mainly of mountains. Glaciers flow down these mountains through deep valleys to the sea. The highest peaks, the Gunnbjom Mountains, on the eastern coast of the island rise over 12,000 feet.

Thule AB is located in a coastal valley approximately four miles from the entrance of North Star Bay on Greenland’s west coast. The bay is part of Baffin Bay, which extends to the southern part of Ellesmere Island 140 miles west of Thule. The base is built on a broad and rather flat glacial valley floor between two bedrock ridges, North and South Mountains. The valley slopes gently to the east-southeast until it meets an ice cap, the Great Land Glacier, about 10 miles inland.

Thule AB is locked in by ice nine months out of the year. Each summer an icebreaker ship pushes through the ice in North Star Bay to clear a path for American, Canadian and Danish cargo ships. This marks the opening of a very short “port season,” during which these ships bring in the installation’s annual bulk resupply of fuel, food, cargo and construction material. The bay will freeze again by mid- October, isolating access to the installation to either dogsled, or aircraft. The Thule AB airfield is open and operated year round.

Thule AB exists today due to agreements between the United States and the Kingdom of Denmark, specifically addressing mutual defense. Strategically, Thule AB’s “Top of the World” vantage point enables Space Superiority. Thule AB supports Missile Warning, Missile Defense and Space Surveillance missions from the solid-state phased-array radar operated by the 12th Space Warning Squadron (12 SWS) and Satellite Command and Control through the Thule Tracking Station operated by the 23rd Space Operations Squadron, Detachment 1 (Det-1).
The base population expands to approximately 675 personnel in the summer and as few as 350 personnel in the winter months (with exercises, expeditions, contractors, and visitors), consisting of Danish, Greenlandic, Canadian, and American military and civilians.

Current as of 1 May 2021

A remote block change antenna designated as POGO-Charlie, operated by Detachment 1, 23rd Space Operations Squadron at Thule Air Base, Greenland July 26, 2016. Detachment 1 provides vital support to Schriever and the Air Force Satellite Control Network, providing telemetry, tracking and command technologies. (Courtesy Photo)

Click here for photos of Thule AB.

Contact Information

For official travel requirements, visit the Foreign Clearance Guide: https://www.fcg.pentagon.mil/fcg.cfm
Aircraft and Personnel Automated Clearance System (APACS): https://apacs.dtic.mil

Flight Reservations

    821 SPTS/LG

    Commercial: (719) 474-3840 ext. 2716

    DNS: (312) 629-2716 or (312) 629-2346

    Email: 821sptslgdistro@us.af.mil (unclassified)

    Logistics Flight

    Thule Air Base, Greenland


Thule Base Operator
US Commercial: 719-474-3840
International: +299.976606/976585

Logistics Flight (primary)
DSN: 629-2716/3303 US Commercial: 719-474-3840 ext 2716/3303
E-Mail: 821sptslgdistro@us.af.mil

Danish Liaison Office
DSN: 629-2612 Commercial: 719-474-3840 ext 2612
International: + 299.976526/594126
E-Mail: DLO@thule.af.mil or fotab@greennet.gl

Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Web site: http://www.um.dk/en
Address: Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Asiatisk Plads 2, DK 1448, Copenhagen K.
Phone: +45.3392.0000, Fax: +45.3254.0533
E-Mail: um@um.dk
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 0900L-1600L
E-Mail to submit permits: nfg@um.dk

Thule AB Units

821st AIR BASE GROUP (821 ABG)

The mission of the 821st Air Base Group is to enable force protection, space superiority and scientific research in the Artic Region for our nation and allies through integrated base support and defense operations. The 821 ABG operates not only the DoD's northernmost installation but also the world's northernmost deep-water Seaport and provides a unique platform for artic training, international scientific research and environmental programs.

 

821st SUPPORT SQUADRON (821 SPTS)

The mission of the 821st Support Squadron is to provide outstanding mission support to enable force projection, space superiority, and scientific research in the Arctic Region for our Nation and allies. This is done through engineering, medical, communication, logistics, services and airfield operations in support of the 821 ABG and tenant organizations. Most personnel within the squadron serve as Contracting Officer Representatives (CORs) for the Base Maintenance Contract.

 

821st SECURITY FORCES SQUADRON (821 SFS)

The mission of the 821st Security Forces Squadron is to DEFEND, TRUST, and CHALLENGE. Defend the base and each other. Trust each other enabling candid feedback and allow room for growth. Last but not least, Challenge each other and yourself every day to be better! Our mission set ranges from providing security to protection level resources, to investigating mishaps and crimes at Thule.

 

12th SPACE WARNING SQUADRON (12 SWS)

The mission of the 12th Space Warning Squadron is to execute flawless Missile Warning, Missile Defense, and innovative Space Surveillance operations in order to deter aggression, secure space, and if necessary, prevail in conflict. 12 SWS crews operate the Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR) weapon system, a phased-array radar that detects and reports attack assessments of sea-launched and intercontinental ballistic missile threats in support of strategic missile warning and missile defense. Additionally, the radar supports Space Domain Awareness (SDA) by tracking and characterizing objects in orbit around the earth. 12 SWS is part of the United State Space Force (USSF) and reports to Space Delta 4, located at Buckley AFB CO.

 

DETACHMENT 1 (Det-1), 23rd SPACE OPERATIONS SQUADRON (23 SOPS), 50th SPACE WING

23 SOPS, Detachment 1 is one of seven Remote Tracking Stations (RTS) in the Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN). Located approximately 3.5 miles NE of Thule main base, Det 1 provides access to satellites for over 20K annual supports to the US Department of Defense, the US Government, and our allies. Detachment 1 reports to the 23rd Space Operations Squadron at New Boston Air Force Station New Hampshire, which in turn reports to Space Delta 6 located at Schriever AFB Colorado.