The amount of land that America’s air bases cover worldwide is an astonishing 46,875 square miles. That’s nearly 8,000 square miles more than Scotland (30,981sq.mi.) and Wales (8,023sq.mi.) combined, and only marginally smaller than the entire area of England, which is 50,301 square miles.
With an annual defence budget of nearly $750 billion, the military might of the US is hardly a surprise – yet the sheer scale of its air base coverage is huge. There are a total of 59 active major US Air Force bases in the United States, with the largest being Eglin AFB in Northwest Florida. Eglin currently occupies almost 640 square miles – that’s 34.2 square miles larger than the whole of Greater London.
In total, the USAF’s three largest bases – Eglin AFB, JB Lewis McChord AFB and Edwards AFB – occupy a total area of just over 2,343 square miles. That’s five times the size of New York City (468 sq.mi.).
In total, the USAF’s 59 active bases occupy just over 12,000 square miles. To put this figure into context, Greater Manchester occupies 493 square miles and is the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. In fact, if you were to combine Greater Manchester, Birmingham and Greater London, these 59 active bases would fill them out almost 10 times over.
However, this is not the only jaw-dropping statistic. These 59 airbases are also over 12 times the size of Luxembourg and pretty much the same size as Belgium. In total, 0.31% of the United States is covered by air force bases, but if you include training centres, HQs and joint bases, the total rises to 212, meaning USAF land ownership becomes 1.15% of the United States. That’s nearly 107 times the size of Texas.