HUNDREDS of American families will move to RAF Fairford with two squadrons of US Air Force spy planes to carry out an intelligence-gathering mission.

The massive relocation will transfer 530 military personnel and 740 family members to the area.

The USAF 95th Reconnaissance Squadron and 488th Intelligence Squadron will move operations to the base from RAF Mildenhall, which is set to close.

The move is expected to begin in 2023 and be complete by 2024.

It is is expected that the move will bring "substantial" financial benefits to the town and surrounding area

The aircraft are designed for intelligence gathering, analysis, and dissemination. They will be used to provide the support on a mission for the RC-135 surveillance aircraft, known as Rivet Joint, as part of the European Infrastructure Consolidation.

All RC-135s are permanently assigned to the 55th Wing, Air Combat Command, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

They will use RAF Fairford as a forward operating location and will deploy as required from the USA.

RAF Fairford is already the only European base for American heavy bombers, was the only TransOceanic Abort Landing site for NASA’s Space Shuttle in the UK, and hosts the Royal International Air Tattoo, which is the world’s biggest air show.