The MONAB Story

A history of the mobile airfields of the Royal Navy

1 2 3 »

Mobile Naval Ai Base Components

Each MONAB comprised of several key components common to all units (Command & Executive, Medical, Stores, Flying Control, Radio & Radar, Maintenance, Air Gunnery), and a range of interchangeable technical components (Maintenance Servicing, Mobile Maintenance, Maintenance, Storage & Reserve, Mobile Repair). Each technical component carried out a single function, day-to-day servicing, aircraft storage, repair of damaged aircraft etc. Should the MONABs tasking be changed additional components could be added to meet the new task, alternately, redundant components could be removed or re-deployed.


Basic MONAB structure

All MONAB units were made up of a fixed set of six common elements, the makeup of the repair and maintenance (air) element being dictated by the unit tasking.


Commanding Office [Captain or Commader]r, Executive Office [Commander or Lieutenant Commander] and staff.


Comprised; Medical, Dental, Pay office, Naval & Air stores, Clothing stores, Messing, Victualling (Catering), Station Maintenance - encompassing accommodation, Discipline, Motor Transport, Water & Sanitation.

Repair & Maintenance (Air)

Comprising; Workshops - Air gunnery, Air Radio & Radar  Mobile Maintenance, Maintenance Servicing  [Mobile Repair, Maintenance, Storage & Reserve, Mobile Air Torpedo Maintenance Unit, Maintenance Annex, Standard Preservation Unit attached as required] by tasking].

Operations & Training

Comprising; Flying control, Radio & Radar, Flight Deck Officer, Meteorological, Photographic, Station Flight, and resident Fleet Requirements Unit - if attached.

Airfield Defence

Comprising; Ground defence, Support, Anti-Aircraft Defence.


No construction units were ever assembled; if needed they would comprise of a detachment of Royal Marine Engineers and would only be required by a Forward Area MONAB if no suitable base of operations were available.


Miscellaneous components

In certain circumstances additional non-technical components were added to a MONAB  to meet a particular requirement.

Standard Preservation Unit (SPU)

Unit tasked with the preservation of aircraft to be held in storage or for shipment by sea. The manning levels for these units is not known.

Aircraft Erection unit

Tasked with the assembly of reserve airframes as part of a Receipt and Despatch MONAB or TAMY. The manning levels for these units is not known.

Aircraft Equipping unit

Tasked with the installation of equipment into recently assembled reserve airframes as part of a Receipt and Despatch MONAB or TAMY. The manning levels for these units is not known.

Aircraft Stripping unit

Tasked with the removal of equipment and parts from airframes damaged beyond local repair as part of a Receipt and Despatch MONAB or TAMY. The manning levels for these units is not known.

Mobile Malarial Hygiene Unit (MMHU)

These specialist medical units were attached to units operating in areas infested with mosquitoes carrying malaria.The manning levels for these units is not known.

Repair & Maintenance (Air)  components

With the exception of MONAB II and TAMY I all Mobile airfield units were formed with one Mobile Maintenance and two Maintenance Servicing units - Mobile Repair and Maintenance, Storage & Reserve components were attached to units where needed.

Mobile components

Mobile Maintenance (MM)

Tasked with aircraft repair by parts replacement, and the repair & overhaul of aircraft components. Equipped with 1 machine shop lorry, 1 electrical & instrument Worksop lorry, 1 battery charging lorry, 2 generator lorries  and two steel framed, canvas covered portable hangars, capable of housing one large & one small aircraft. Each MM Unit was tasked with maintenance of up to 50 aircraft of different types (see individual individual MM listing for details). An MM unit was manned by 6 Officers, 25 CPOs & POs and 64 ratings. [Also referred to as a Mobile Workshop Unit]

Maintenance Servicing (MS)

Tasked with routine daily servicing of up to 25 aircraft. Each individual MS unit was tasked to support specific aircraft types (see individual MS listing for details). An MS unit was equipped with 1 Worksop lorry, 2 general stores lorries and 1 general purpose lorry for transporting ground equipment, and manned by 2 Officer, 8 CPOs & POs and 5 ratings.

Mobile Air Radio Maintenance (MAR)

Comprised of 3 Radio and 4 radar workshops in Road/Rail containers mounted on 3 Ton trucks, 2 store lorries and 2 22Kw generator lorries. These components were not numbered, one MAR component was attached to each MONAB and supported all equipment types in use by the BPF. Manned by 1 0r 2 Air Radio Officer and 26 ratings. 

Maintenance, Storage & Reserve (MSR)

Tasked with maintaining and storing reserve aircraft, each unit being equipped & stored to hold 50 aircraft. Attached to MONABs where reserve aircraft stocks were to be held for either local issue or re-supply of the Forward aircraft pool. Individual MSR units stored to hold a number of different aircraft types (see individual MSR listing for details). An MSR unit had its own complement of 3 Officers, 29 CPOs & POs and 99 ratings.  

Mobile Air Torpedo Maintenance Unit (MATMU)

Tasked with torpedo servicing and supply, these units where attached to MONABs supporting disembarked Torpedo, Bomber & Reconnaissance (TBR) squadrons, providing an Air Torpedo live firing range. (see individual MATMU listing for details). A MATMU was manned by 1 Officer. 2 CPOs & POs and 30 ratings.


Mobile Servicing & Maintenance (MSM)

A containerised pack-up unit containing the stores, tools and ground equipment of one MM and two MS units without the specialist vehicles. Designed to be substituted for the MM & MS components in a MONAB which was to be installed at a fully functional airfield with permanent structures to house technical components.  MONAB II was the only unit known to have included an MSM.  

Mobile Repair (MR)

A containerised pack-up unit tasked with carrying out repairs above those handled by an MM unit, but below the level requiring the attention of an aircraft repair yard. These units were intended for inclusion in type 'A' MONABs, however due to operational demands above those originally anticipated for some units the MR units operating in Australia were moved from unit to unit when required. Each MR unit was tasked with support of a number of different aircraft types (see individual MR listing for details). The manning levels for these units is not known.

Maintenance Annex (MA)

Task not clear, it is possible that these units were 'add on' components to supplement MRs. (see individual MA listing for details). The manning levels for these units is not known.

 Component allocations »

1 2 3 »


Search RN Research Archive materials on-line