Lossiemouth gearing up for international air invasion

US Air Force helicopters to be based in Moray

RAF Lossiemouth is again set to host fast jets, Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) helicopters for the latest ‘Joint Warrior’ exercise that takes place this month.

Exercise Joint Warrior, running from April 13 until April 24, is a tri-service and multi-national exercise conducted in the UK during the spring and the autumn of each year.

The exercise will involve more than 22 warships and submarines, 52 fixed wing aircraft, and a total of nearly 3,500 personnel from the various participating nations.

This year Lossiemouth will be hosting MPA aircraft such as the US Navy P-8 Poseidon (based on the Boeing 737 airliner), P-3 Orion and Atlantique as well as US Air Force Sikorsky HH-60G PAVE HAWK combat SAR helicopters.

The resident Typhoon squadrons at the Moray base will also take part in the Exercise.

Flt Lt Heidi Billany, an Operations Officer at RAF Lossiemouth, said: “The hosting of these exercise participants will involve every section at RAF Lossiemouth.

“In order to facilitate each visiting units’ individual requirements for the Exercise, planning has been ongoing since October last year to ensure that we are ready.

“It will be an extremely busy fortnight for the Station and the airfield itself. Particular challenges will involve working with different coalition countries, operating large aircraft from an airfield which is set up for much smaller, fast jets and fitting it all around RAF

“Lossiemouth’s own ongoing high operational tempo and essential training.”

The aircraft from the Canadian, German, French and US Air Forces and the US Navy will start to arrive at RAF Lossiemouth from early April. All crews will be staying in local hotels for the duration of the Exercise.

Normally RAF Lossiemouth operates its flying programme from 0800 to 2300, however during this exercise some night flying may take place outwith this period. There will be some departures and recoveries during the weekend but these should be single aircraft moves and take place in daylight hours.

Flt Lt Billany added: “Engineers will service the aircraft as they land and prior to departures and this may take place between the hours of 2300 and 0800, all steps will be taken to minimise the associated noise.

“The MPA aircraft may have a noticeably different noise pattern from the Tornados and Typhoons usually based at RAF Lossiemouth. However, due to the nature of the task the MPA will carry out during the exercise it is likely that there will be fewer departures and returns.”

Leave a comment