Skip to main content

The Royal Air Force in Scotland

The Royal Air Force in Scotland protects our seas and skies 24/7 with front-line Typhoon fast jet squadrons, submarine-hunting P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance attack aircraft and RAF Regiment personnel.

The Royal Air Force in Scotland

The Royal Air Force in Scotland primarily operates from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, north-east Scotland, where it protects our seas and skies 24/7.  It is a large and busy military airfield that never sleeps.

Four front-line Typhoon fast jet squadrons maintain Quick Reaction Alert (Interceptor) North – protecting UK and NATO air space from attempted air terrorism and other incursions.  Aircraft and crews are on 24/7 high alert in order to scramble and intercept unidentified aircraft approaching UK airspace.  Supporting operational activity worldwide and hosting national and international exercises, RAF Lossiemouth personnel and aircraft directly contribute to the international effort to counter Daesh in Iraq and Syria and towards NATO Air policing in the Baltics.

RAF Lossiemouth is also home to the UK’s fleet submarine-hunting P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance attack aircraft with five out of the total nine planned aircraft already operating from the site.  The location of RAF Lossiemouth and its proximity to the North Atlantic is essential to enabling these aircraft to swiftly identify and track adversary submarines.  The first aircraft ‘The Pride of Moray’ arrived in Scotland in 2020 followed by ‘The City of Elgin’, ‘Terence Bulloch’, ‘Spirit of Reykavík’ and ‘Fulmar’.

The UK Government has invested over £470 million in RAF Lossiemouth in recent years including a £132 million state-of-the-art operational support and training facility for Maritime Patrol fleet together with £75 million runway upgrade to support the increased flying output.  Defence business partners such as Boeing UK and BAE Systems all have a large presence on site.

Announced by UK Government in December 2020, RAF Lossiemouth will also become home to the Wedgetail AEW Mk1 due to arrive in 2023.  The successor to the E-3D Sentry airborne early warning and control aircraft, Wedgetail is based upon the same Boeing 737 aircraft type as the Poseidon submarine hunters creating efficiencies in engineering taskings.  Co-locating these new arrivals alongside the Maritime Patrol capability will bring further economic investment to the region and enhances the strategic importance of the base to UK security.

RAF Lossiemouth is also home to Number 5 Force Protection Wing, consisting of personnel from the RAF Regiment and RAF Police.  Number 51 Squadron RAF Regiment specialises in protecting aircraft, airfields, and personnel. Number 4 RAF Police Squadron conduct general policing duties at the station, and specialise in the handling of military working dogs, counterintelligence, and special investigations.  Together they regularly work with the Nigerian Air Force, training their personnel to combat the Boko Haram insurgency.

There are four RAF Reserve Squadrons in Scotland: 612 Squadron at Leuchars Station, 2622 (Highland) Squadron, 602 Squadron in Glasgow and 603 Squadron in Edinburgh.

Visit the RAF website - external link

More information

Ministry of Defence website - external link

Find out more about defence and security in Scotland.