The Royal Air Force in Scotland
RAF Lossiemouth in Moray is one of two RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) stations which protect UK airspace.
Its 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 – and are supporting the international effort to counter Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
The station supports four Typhoon combat aircraft squadrons – around half of the RAF’s Typhoon Force.
Personnel and Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth’s Number 1 (Fighter) Squadron, the oldest in service squadron in the world, and Number II (Army Cooperation) Squadron, conducted a NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in Romania from April to August 2018, before the Royal Canadian Air Force took over the ongoing international mission.
When in Romania, the Scots-based team scrambled eight times in response to 20 Russian aircraft flying towards Romanian air space as part of NATO’s assurance measures for Eastern Allies.
1(F) Squadron from RAF Lossiemouth will conduct the UK’s first Icelandic NATO Air Policing mission, deploying to Keflavik Air Base to maintain the integrity of NATO airspace in November 2019.
From 2020 RAF Lossiemouth will also be home to the UK’s fleet of nine submarine-hunting P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance attack aircraft. The entire UK Poseidon fleet will be based at Lossiemouth due to its proximity to the North Atlantic, where adversary submarines are most likely to operate. The first aircraft was handed over to the RAF in October 2019 and will arrive in Scotland in 2020.
The UK Government and Boeing are building a new £132 million operational support and training facility for Poseidon, creating more than 200 jobs. This will open towards the end of 2020, marking the start of Maritime Patrol operations from RAF Lossiemouth. All nine aircraft will be delivered by 2021 and achieve full operational capability by 2024, when the number of personnel at RAF Lossiemouth will have risen by 470 to around 2,200 people.
The new aircraft will co-operate closely on this mission alongside US and Norwegian aircraft. Poseidon will protect the UK nuclear deterrent and other submarines, as well as its new aircraft carriers, working alongside the new fleet of eight Royal Navy Type 26 Frigates (anti-submarine warfare specialists) currently being built in Glasgow.
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, counter-intelligence, and special investigations. Together they regularly work with the Nigerian Air Force, training their personnel to combat the Boko Haram insurgency.
Personnel from RAF Lossiemouth supported the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland by transporting essential staff to and from work during the ‘Best from the East’ snow storms of 2018.
Find out more about armed forces and security in Scotland.