Assurances sought over training for Moray MPA crews

P8 training assurances sought (pic: Mike Crutch)
P8 training assurances sought (pic: Mike Crutch)

ASSURANCES ARE BEING sought that any UK-based training for airmen manning the new Poseidon P-8A maritime aircraft bound for Moray is also undertaken at RAF Lossiemouth.

Moray’s MP Angus Robertson tackled defence procurement minister Phillip Dunne in the House of Commons this week, when he pressed the minister on progress of the nine-aircraft deal for the Boeing P-8A.

While the MoD have said that the first aircraft would not be in place until 2018, Mr Robertson sought assurances that training for the MPA force announced a few months ago would also be undertaken in Moray.

The MP pointed out that flight training was already well established in Moray, and that flight training on the scrapped Nimrod aircraft had been planned to take place at Kinloss. He said: “The RAF is currently maintaining its skill base by training on maritime patrol aircraft in the Unites States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“Will the government ensure that training on the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft is based at RAF Lossiemouth, as is the case for Tornadoes and Typhoon aircraft at present?”

Mr Dunne refused to commit on the issue, saying that the basing for training would be established as part of the procurement process in the coming months. He insisted that it would be “quite wrong” to pre-empt any contractual obligations.

The minister did confirm that the officer overseeing the project would be Air Commodore Ian Gale, who served as Station Commander at RAF Lossiemouth from 2011 until 2013.