RAF Lossiemouth – Typhoon Main Operating Base 2

Since it was decided that RAF Lossiemouth would remain open and would become a Typhoon Base, much work has been completed to prepare us for that but the context is a challenging one: maintain an absolute focus on our current task in Afghanistan, be ready for contingent tasks, maintain an Expeditionary Air Wing capability, prepare for the disbandment of 2 Tornado Squadrons, assist in the transfer of the Search and Rescue capability into civilian hands and, oh yes, build a Typhoon base!

These are challenges that affect each and every person at RAF Lossiemouth and this post aims to give you some more information about what and when, things are happening here.

Afghanistan. First and foremost, 12 (Bomber) Squadron are deployed in Afghanistan right now. They will remain there on their last tour of duty until the late autumn, when they will be replaced by 617 Squadron, the Dambusters. Our RAF Regiment Force Protection Wing, made up of both regular and reservist personnel, will deploy on a 6 month tour of duty at Camp Bastion, also in the late autumn so Christmas here will be quieter than normal.

  • Disbandments. In March 2014, both 12 and 617 Squadrons will disband as the Tornado Force is gradually replaced by the more modern and capable Typhoon. 617 Squadron though, will reform in 2016 as an F35, Lightning II Squadron, thereby opening a new chapter in their proud history.
  • New Beginnings. In June 2014, Number 6 Squadron will bring their Typhoon aircraft up from RAF Leuchars and begin the new chapter for RAF Lossiemouth. Over the summer of 2014, Lossiemouth will assume responsibility for Quick Reaction Alert. In the autumn, Number 1 (Fighter) Squadron will move to Lossiemouth, completing the major moves of people and equipment from RAF Leuchars, enabling the Station to focus fully on handover to the Army.
  • And Beyond. In March 2015, current plans will see XV Squadron (the Tornado Operational Conversion Unit) transfer to RAF Marham, as will the Tornado Engineering Flight. At around the same time, a third Typhoon Squadron will form at RAF Lossiemouth, effectively 'grown' out of expansions to 6 Squadron. Finally, by May 2015, the Search and Rescue Sea King helicopters of 'D Flight', 202 Squadron will leave the base as the Search and Rescue service transfers to civilian hands. The capability will be provided by Bristow helicopters, currently planned to operate from Inverness airport.

So that's a summary of the considerable changes that will be happening here at RAF Lossiemouth in the coming months. These changes have already resulted in considerable infrastructure works here to support the new tasks but although our role is changing, a significant number of our people will retrain on the Typhoon and remain in the local area. RAF Lossiemouth will be at the forefront of the delivery of military capability for many years to come and our people look forward to remaining at the heart of the Moray community.

3 Hangar at RAF Lossiemouth in July. Ready now!

 

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About Ian Gale
RAF Air Commodore working as the Senior Responsible Owner for delivery of RAF Command & Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance programmes

10 Responses to RAF Lossiemouth – Typhoon Main Operating Base 2

  1. liger30 says:

    Thanks for the update on the future of Lossie. Any chance to see the Typhoon tranche 1 kept in service into the 2020s to keep up somewhat the number of frontline squadrons as the Tornado force reduces?

  2. Typhoon Tranch 1 are far from useless, as their performance in Operation ELLAMY testifies. Unfortunately, it isn’t likely to be as cost-effective or technically simple to upgrade them as it is to replace them wih Tranch 2 as planned. As far as Squadron numbers go, the Squadrons will be filled to the numbers as planned – their is no shortfall on Squadrons. Whilst in pure Air Force terms we’d love to see more Squadrons of course, we have to live within our means and we have a budget to stay inside so have to cut the cloth accordingly to give the best bang for buck for the UK taxpayer

    • liger30 says:

      Between you and me…
      You really believe that there is no shortfall of combat squadrons?
      You really believe that the UK cannot afford more than the six or seven squadrons of combat jets that will remain, barring further cuts, by 2020, when less than two years ago there were 12 frontline squadrons?

      I sure do not. I strongly suspect you don’t really think it either. But i also understand you can’t exactly go around saying it as freely as you’d like…

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s just say the GR4 were great babysitters

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great photo of 3 hangar…what a re-vamp!

  4. Lindsay says:

    My concern really is how S&R operations are run once it’s transferred to civvy hands. Scotland has some of the harshest terrain in the UK and the RAF and Navy S&R teams are highly trained to deal with the harshest conditions mother nature throws at them and have saved hundreds of lives because of it. Can we really say the same for these Bristow crews once they take over operations? Will they be as willing to go into low cloud and near blizzard conditions we get in the Cairn Gorm Mountains to save climbers or into heavy winds in the Hebrides to pick up a sick child or rescue fishermen sinking in high seas and storm force winds? Or will the red tape known as health and safety stop them from doing so?

    Sorry, but I’m not convinced giving S&R operations to civvys (whose HQ is based on Texas I might add!) is a great idea. It should stay in the military fold.

  5. Douglas Connery says:

    Oh dear my first comment deleted šŸ˜¦

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