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RAF Lossiemouth

Lossiemouth.gif
Motto: Thoir An Aire

IATA: LMOICAO: EGQS
Summary
Airport type Military: RAF Station
Operator Royal Air Force
Location Lossiemouth
Built 1938
In use 1939 - present
Commander Group Captain A Monkman DFC ADC MA BA RAF
Occupants
Elevation AMSL 42 ft / 13 m
Coordinates 57°42′19″N 003°20′21″W / 57.70528°N 3.33917°W / 57.70528; -3.33917
Website http://www.raf.mod.uk/raflossiemouth/
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
05/23 9,019 2,749 Asphalt
10/28 6,066 1,849 Asphalt

RAF Lossiemouth (IATA: LMOICAO: EGQS) is a Royal Air Force station to the west of the town of Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland. It is one of the RAF's biggest bases and currently Britain's main base for Tornado GR4s.

Contents

History

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WW2

Royal Air Force Lossiemouth was built during 1938 and 1939 with 15 Flying Training School forming in April 1939. The first aircraft to use Lossiemouth regularly were Oxfords and Harvards but, due to the location and good weather, many different types of aircraft were frequently diverted to the Station. In April 1940 the Station was handed over to RAF Bomber Command and 20 Operational Training Unit was formed. Although mainly a training unit for Bomber crews during WWII, some operational raids were launched from Lossiemouth, the most important being 617 “The Dambusters” Squadron’s successful attack on the Tirpitz, pride of the German battle fleet, on 12 November 1944.

Cold War

At the end of the hostilities the Station became a satellite unit of Milltown in RAF Coastal Command, before being handed over to the Fleet Air Arm in 1946 and becoming HMS Fulmar, RNAS Lossiemouth. The Fleet Air Arm used Lossiemouth as a training station with pilots receiving their basic training here before moving to Culdrose for instrument training. The final stage of training, (deck-landing) was practised at Milltown, before students were allowed to land on HMS Theseus in the Moray Firth.

The Fleet Air Arm handed the Station back to the Royal Air Force on 28 September 1972 and ‘D’ Flight, 202 Squadron, the Helicopter Search and Rescue Flight, was the first RAF unit to return. May 1973 saw the arrival of the Jaguar Conversion Team (renamed 226 Operational Conversion Unit on 1 October 1974) and in August 1973, 8 Squadron Avro Shackleton transferred to Lossiemouth from nearby Kinloss. In December 1978, 48 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Regiment arrived to provide short-range defence with their Rapier surface-to-air missiles. In July 1979, 2622 (Highland) Royal Air Force Auxiliary Regiment was formed, tasked with the ground defence of the Station. From 1978 to 1981, 2 Tactical Weapons Unit flew Hawker Hunter from Lossiemouth prior to the reopening of RAF Chivenor.

On 1 July 1991 the Shackletons of 8 Squadron retired from service and on 1 October 1991 237 Operational Conversion Unit was disbanded. In 1992 however, another unit was added to the Station strength with the formation of 237 Field Squadron of the Territorial Army responsible for Airfield Damage Repair. Also during that year, the important links between RAF Lossiemouth and the District of Moray were further strengthened when the Station formally received the Freedom of Moray.

Post Cold War

Major changes took place in 1993 with the Blackburn Buccaneer anti-shipping squadrons starting to be replaced by the Panavia Tornado. On 1 October 12(B) Squadron lost its Buccaneers but kept its squadron number-plate when re-equipped with Tornados. On 1 November, the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit, renamed XV(Reserve) Squadron arrived from RAF Honington in Suffolk.

In April 1994, 208 Squadron was disbanded and was replaced by 617 Squadron, which transferred with their Tornados from RAF Marham in Norfolk. Although 48 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment left Lossiemouth for Honington on 1 July 1996, RAF Lossiemouth continued to be one of the busiest front-line stations in the RAF with 3 Tornado Squadrons, including XV(Reserve) Squadron, 16(Reserve) Squadron (previously 226 OCU) and ‘D’ Flight, 202 Squadron with their Sea Kings. This line-up continued until July 2000, when the Jaguars left for RAF Coltishall in Norfolk; however, with the increase in size of XV(Reserve) Squadron in 1999 following the closure of the Tri-national Tornado Training Establishment at RAF Cottesmore, the arrival of the Tornados of 14 Squadron from RAF Brüggen in January 2001, RAF Lossiemouth has become the busiest fast-jet station in the Royal Air Force. In May 2001, 51 RAF Regiment Squadron was reformed and now sits with 2622 Auxiliary Squadron under the newly formed 5 Force Protection Wing Headquarters at RAF Lossiemouth.

Current structure

The RAF Lossiemouth structure as of April 2008:[1]

Future aircraft

In November 2005, it was announced that Lossiemouth would be the main base for the RAF's fleet of F-35 Lightning IIs (designated the Joint Combat Aircraft by the Ministry of Defence).[2]

The President of Virgin Galactic, Will Whitehorn stated in an interview with Space.co.uk on 29 April 2008 that the company was considering flying from RAF Lossiemouth during the summer months only.[3]

See also

References

External links


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