The major work programmes with their aircraft and other facilities that made significant contributions to MOD and the Civil Authorities were:
1. Tactical Landing Guidance, including guidance for helicopters to remote sites and ships, naval aircraft Carrier Guidance and visual approach and tactical aids. This work involved the aircraft Hawker Siddeley 748 XW750, Wessex XR503.
2. Radio Guidance developments, which included Microwave Landing Systems (MLS) and the Microwave Aircraft Digital Guidance Equipment (MADGE). This work involved aircraft Wessex XR503.
3. Terrain Following, as applied to the Vulcan and Tornado aircraft fleets. This work involved aircraft Tornado ZA326.
4. Civil Avionics, including Flight Management Systems and Area Navigation. This work involved the aircraft BAC 1-11 XX105.
5. VTOL developments, including VIFF capability, Sea Harrier night and low visibility recoveries to ships, ski-jump and the VAAC programme. These and the VAAC programme with its Advanced Flight Control and Handling Qualities involved aircraft Harrier XW175 and made extensive use of flight simulation.
6. Helicopter research, including fundamental understanding of rotor aerodynamic performance and helicopter flight mechanics. This work involved Wessex Mk1 XM300, Scout XP191 and the Lockheed XH51 (on loan from NASA), the Puma XW241, and Lynx ZD559.
7. Atmospheric turbulence, downbursts and windshear, and Vortex Wakes. This work involved the aircraft HS125 XW930.
8. Flight Simulation studies of all classes of aircraft, and of simulation technologies. Advanced Flight Simulator with its unique Large Motion System and the Real Time All-Vehicle Simulator.
Aircraft Department supported flying operations by providing aircraft maintenance and specialised installations on aircraft. RAE Bedford was privileged to have design authority to make changes to aircraft.
Other significant groups supported research work at Bedford, such as Air Traffic Control, Fire Services, Workshops, MoD Police and Administration.
Thurleigh airfield closed officially at 11:00 GMT on 31st Mar 1994. Research flying re-located to Boscombe Down. The airfield was sold to St Modwen in 1996. A scientific enclave was, however, retained under DRA/DERA management, and finally QinetiQ, until 2008.