RAF

RAF Lossiemouth: Pilots Prepare To Protect UK's Northern Skies At Christmas

The Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon team will be on duty protecting the UK's northern airspace through the festive season.

Christmas is fast approaching, and for many, it represents an opportunity to take time off and relax with family and friends.

However, there will be no festive downtime for those at RAF Lossiemouth who will be on duty protecting the UK's northern airspace.

The Typhoon aircraft and crews are held in a state of high-readiness, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to respond to any unidentified aircraft approaching UK skies.

Group Captain Jim Walls, Station Commander, RAF Lossiemouth, said:

"No one flies United Kingdom airspace, unless we let them.

"This is a very resource-intensive activity. It might sound like only two aircraft, but actually there's a lot of activity behind that, that gets the people and the aircraft ready to fly at a moment's notice, so it's absolutely on a hair trigger to go whenever it's needed."

The Typhoon jets are held in a state of high-readiness through the year.

Earlier this year, Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) pilots were scrambled three times in seven days to intercept Russian jets.

Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack supersonic bombers were spotted off the east coast by the team at Lossiemouth.

Flight Lieutenant Zane Sennett, 1 (F) Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, said:

"The job of a QRA pilot is, first and foremost, you've got to be prepared to launch on a potential threat or perceived threat to the United Kingdom airspace.

"So a lot of pressure and responsibility to do that in time and correctly. There are also periods we're not launching and it can be a long shift."

Ready to go.

It is crucial the fighter jets themselves are maintained properly and ready to go at all times.

Aircraft maintenance mechanic, Senior Aircraftman Thomas Hastings said:

"It's probably one of the most crucial roles that we have in the RAF, Quick Reaction Alert, and I'm just pleased to be a part of it really, and help out where we can."

There is also pressure for the catering team to keep the pilots fueled. Senior Aircraftman Sam May, RAF Lossiemouth Catering Flight Team said:

"I enjoy it. It's quite a vital and important role I play. I like to think I'm doing my little bit for the country, protecting the skies above the UK."

Always prepared to take to the skies within minutes, RAF Lossiemouth's Typhoon team plays an integral role in keeping the UK safe.