Scotland

How Ready Is Scotland For The P-8A Poseidon's Arrival?

The aircraft will first be based out of Kinloss Barracks, before moving to RAF Lossiemouth later this year.

The first of the RAF’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft is due to land in the UK for the first time in a few weeks.

RAF Lossiemouth will be the fleet's permanent home from the autumn, however, the aircraft will initially be flying out of Kinloss - an Army barracks 12 miles along the coast, which was formally a Royal Air Force base.

The airfield at Lossiemouth is undergoing a revamp to strengthen the runways and taxiways, as well as an extension to ensure it can accommodate the P-8A, which is larger and heavier than the Typhoon aircraft it currently hosts.

The RAF received its first P-8A last October, during a ceremony in the United States.

The aircraft are due to make their first arrival in the United Kingdom in early February.

P-8A Poseidon landing in Jacksonville, Florida
The RAF took delivery of the P-8A Poseidon in Jacksonville, Florida, last year (Picture: RAF).

The total revamp is costing £400 million and more than one million working hours so far have been put into the project.

The facility will be big enough to house three of the P-8A aircraft and will bring in nearly 500 extra personnel to the site.

Paul Lilley, Operations Director at Volkerfitzpatrick, has been overseeing the work on the runway at RAF Lossiemouth: "The existing surface is taken off in its entirety and it is profile planes, this allows for water to disperse easier which is one of the biggest problems when landing especially in this part of the country."

Along with the airfield being upgraded, a large P-8 Poseidon strategic facility is being built.

Despite the large works taking place at RAF Lossiemouth, the base's Quick Reaction Alert squadrons are still able to use the airfield.

Wing Commander Dave Allen, Officer Commanding, RAF Lossiemouth Transition Team, says disruption has been minimal.

"The threat hasn't changed and our output has delivered non-stop," he said.

"That is not just for the defence of our skies in the UK but also delivering in locations across the world."

Kinloss Barracks runway
The British Army's Kinloss Barracks, which was an RAF station until 2012, will initially be home to the P-8A aircraft.