Plans to spend over £4million on developing a test facility at RAF Lossiemouth that would reduce aircraft noise pollution in the area are being welcomed.
Three squadrons of Typhoon aircraft are set to arrive at the Moray base over the next year, taking over from the Tornado GR4s that have been operating from Lossiemouth for several years.
Two squadrons will transfer from RAF Leuchars, the first expected within weeks while a second will arrive later this year. A third squadron is expected in 2015.
Typhoons operate at all hours in their key role as ‘quick reaction’ interceptors protecting UK airspace. As such it is widely expected that there will be greater noise levels around the Moray base.
In an effort to reduce noise levels when undergoing critical engine tests, often carried out at unsociable hours, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has opened bids for a contract to create a ‘hush house’ hangar, a special sound-proofed building in which a single aircraft can be placed and engine tests carried out in a controlled environment.
An MoD defence infrastructure spokeswoman confirmed that amongst the variety of construction works being undertaken at Lossiemouth for the new arrivals included the ‘hush house’ at an estimate cost of between £4million and £7million.
She said: “One of the projects will be the construction of an Installed Engine Test Facility (IETF). The IETF, or hush house, is designed to protect military and civilian personnel from the high-level noise produced by the engine testing facilities.”
The new facility is part of a total £85million investment in upgrading the Moray base to meet its new role in the future.
Moray’s MP and the SNP spokesman on defence at Westminster, Angus Robertson, welcome the facility, saying: “This investment is welcome news for Lossiemouth and is necessary for the transition from Tornadoes to Typhoons.
“However, the MoD’s announcement contrasts with the bitter experience of recent years. The UK government has been massively under-spending in Scotland and has depleted defence to an alarming degree.”