INSIDE MORAY CAN today reveal that the man with the job of establishing nine new P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft at Lossiemouth is no stranger to the Moray base or its local community.
Former RAF Lossiemouth Station Commander Group Captain Ian Gale and his wife Sally have never forgotten their time in the Moray town, forging life-long friendships – and both have been keeping in touch with their former communities through the pages of insideMoray.
When Ian departed Lossiemouth it was to take up a staff post – and that in turn led to his being tasked with building the business case for the re-establishment of suitable maritime aircraft for the service.
Monday’s announcement that nine P-8’s would be purchased for the RAF and that they would be based at Lossiemouth was the result – and with that came further great news for Lossiemouth, as Group Captain Gale has been tasked with bringing the new MPA into service.
Ian told insideMoray: “I have been privileged to lead the work for the last year or so, to regain the Maritime Patrol capability for the UK and more than that, to get a true multi mission solution that wrings every ounce of value out of the money we will invest.
“I’m delighted that all of this has resulted in a favourable Strategic Defence and Security Review announcement and am over the moon that Moray will benefit from all that this will bring.
“As an ex-commanding officer of RAF Lossiemouth, I couldn’t be happier and I think it is a fabulous outcome for all those who supported the base as this new capability will clearly bring prestige and investment to the region.
“Having made the case to get the capability, my new role in HQ Air Command means that I will be the Senior Responsible Owner who delivers the programme and I look forward to updating the people of Moray through insideMoray and of course my Twitter account as things move forward.”
Ian’s delighted wife Sally told insideMoray that she could not have been more pleased at Monday’s announcement: “Ian and I so fell in love with Moray and since leaving Lossiemouth he has been working hard for the good of the town and the wider Moray community.
“It is a place that has stolen a large piece of our hearts, so we are both delighted that having been leading the programme for MPA and building the business case for it over the past year or so, he will now be responsible for bringing the MPA force into service.”
A spokesman for the Lossiemouth Community Council said the community will be delighted and perhaps not completely surprised to learn that the former Lossiemouth commanding officer had a hand in bringing the MPA to Moray – and would be overseeing its establishment.
He said: “When he was station commander at RAF Lossiemouth Group Captain Gale and his wife Sally were tireless supporters of our community. We were all aware that they had a special affinity with the town and with Moray, so it is no surprise to learn that Ian had a hand in this exciting development.
“We look forward to welcoming them both back to Lossiemouth at some time in the near future so that we can thank Ian personally for his continuing support.”
RAF Lossiemouth received a ministerial visit just 24 hours after the base was chosen as home for the new MPA force.
Armed Forces minister Penny Mordaunt was given a tour of the facilities at the base, were she defended the original UK Government decision to abandon the Kinloss Nimrod fleet and so leaving the UK without a maritime air capability for at least four years. Mrs Mordaunt said: “There was a lot of sorting out to do when we came into government, and we have done that.
“We have recognised that this is a capability we want to bring back and we are investing in pilots and technical staff to run those aircraft. There will be in increase in staff on the maritime patrol aircraft, with an additional 400 personnel at Lossiemouth.”