Local store ‘raid’ by Joint Warrior’s before they head home

P8 takes off from Lossiemouth - soon to be a very familiar sight (pic: Trevor Hannant)
P8 takes off from Lossiemouth – soon to be a very familiar sight (pic: Trevor Hannant)

SHOPPERS IN ELGIN’S Asda and Tesco superstores were left in no doubt that the major NATO exercise centred on nearby RAF Lossiemouth was coming to a close on Friday.

More sightings of international air and ground crews were reported in Elgin than at Lossiemouth, as dozens descended on the local stores for a spot of last-minute shopping before making for home.

“It seemed that the United States Navy and Turkish Air Force had invaded both stores,” one onlooker said, adding: “It was good to see that they were boosting the local economy one final time, they are always welcome here.”

A detachment of Turkish F16’s were the main attraction during the latest Joint Warrior exercise over the last ten days, with the aircraft snapped eagerly by photographers as they made daily flights from the Moray base.

There was, naturally, special interest in the United States P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft – no strangers to Moray having taken part in several previous Joint Warrior exercises, but this time with the added attraction that these were the aircraft that will soon be flying in RAF colours from the Moray base.

“It was interesting to note where the P8’s were parked up during the exercise,” one air enthusiast noted, adding: “They were all on the north side of the airfield, adding to speculation that was perhaps where they will be permanently based in what will become an extremely tight fit for space at Lossiemouth.”

Joint Warrior will return once again to Moray with planning for the October edition of the exercise already under way.