Moray became home to the premier squadron of the Royal Air Force on Monday with a long awaited arrival of the second squadron of Typhoon jets at Lossiemouth.
Eight aircraft from No1 (Fighter) Squadron flew over the town in their classic ‘1’ formation to mark the second stage of the base taking over a vital defence role.
The squadron’s arrival marks the latest chapter in a rebirth for RAF Lossiemouth, which was under threat of closure until a grass-roots local campaign over nine months forced a change of heart by UK defence ministers.
Thoughts were, however, on the Fife base that had served the RAF so well for a century but will now be passed on to Army control.
Air Office Scotland and the station commander at RAF Leuchars, Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew, said: “As the Typhoon aircraft and personnel of 1 (Fighter) Squadron begin their timely relocation to RAF Lossiemouth, it is fitting for us to pause and celebrate over 100 years of outstanding military aviation history at RAF Leuchars.
“From its humble beginnings as a balloon station, Leuchars grew throughout the Second World War and beyond to become one of the United Kingdom’s foremost air defence stations.
“It’s exemplary record as the home of northern QRA stands as a testament to the professionalism and dedication of our people.”
No1 Squadron joins 6 Squadron who moved to Moray in June – and after a recent intensive exercise to ensure the base is ready for it’s ‘Quick Reaction Alert’ role the two squadrons are fully operational.
RAF Lossiemouth has undergone a £17million transformation over the last year with a further £70million expected to be invested in the base.
Brining the latest additions into Moray was Wing Commander Mark Flewin, OC 1 (Fighter) Squadron, who said: “The relocation of an entire fast-jet squadron is a phenomenal achievement and it is testament to the commitment, flexibility and capability of all personnel involved that it was carried out so successfully.
“1 (Fighter) Squadron is delighted to have arrived at RAF Lossiemouth and now looks forward to continuing its quick reaction alert duties alongside 6 Squadron.”