THE IMPORTANCE OF RAF Lossiemouth will be underlined today when the Defence Secretary is expected to reveal an additional Typhoon squadron will be created at the Moray base.
The Scottish Conservative Party Conference will hear that plans by the Ministry of Defence to create two additional operational squadrons will see one of these based in Moray.
In November the UK Government confirmed that the lifespan of the Typhoon was to be extended to 2040, providing an additional ten years for the frontline jet. In addition, plans were put in place for an additional two squadrons – bringing the total to seven.
Now it seems likely that four of these will be based in Moray – despite plans being laid to add new Maritime Patrol Aircraft to the rapidly expanding Moray base.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon will address his party conference today and is expected to confirm Lossiemouth as the preferred option for one of the new squadrons – although that will be subject to a survey over space available at the base by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
The move was being welcomed this morning by Moray’s MP, Angus Robertson, who said Moray deserved further expansion at RAF Lossiemouth as the community had fought “tooth and nail” to retain a strong military presence.
He said: “Part of that has been making a strong case for the high level of skills and professionalism that both service and civilian personnel at Lossiemouth demonstrate on a daily basis.
“The strategic importance with which RAF Lossiemouth is viewed also demonstrates just what a folly closing the base would have been.”
Only in January this year work on a £23million facilities upgrade at RAF Lossiemouth was completed, providing space for existing and future aircraft to be located at the base.
Last year the Ministry of Defence confirmed that a new fleet of Maritime Patrol Aircraft was to be procured by the UK Government and would be based in Lossiemouth.
Former RAF Lossiemouth station commander Commodore Ian Gale is heading up that operation although a timetable for crew training and establishment of the P8 aircraft being purchased from the United States is yet to be established.
Currently there are three Typhoon squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth alongside one Tornado operational conversion squadron.