Typhoons To Leave RAF Lossiemouth To Allow Runway Refurbishment

The RAF's Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter jets are to temporarily move away from RAF Lossiemouth next year.

The RAF's Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter jets are to temporarily moved away from RAF Lossiemouth to allow for improvements to the base.

An investment of £400 million is being made in the base to make it ready for the P-8A Poseidon aircraft and an additional Typhoon squadron.

The refurbishment to Lossiemouth includes improvements to the runway, meaning aircraft stationed at the base have to move next year.

The Royal Air Force's Typhoons which serve as the UK's northern Quick Reaction Alert will move briefly operate at the Army base, Leuchars.

Routine Typhoon flying will be based at Kinloss, also an Army base, for around six weeks.

Kinloss will also be the temporary home of the maritime patrol aircraft, P-8A Poseidon, one of the main factors behind the refurbishments at RAF Lossiemouth. 

US Navy P-8 Poseidon
P-8A Poseidon (Picture: PA).

The aircraft will be used to protect the UK's submarine-deployed nuclear deterrent and its two new aircraft carriers, according to defence officials. 

The US submarine-hunting aircraft will eventually operate from RAF Lossiemouth after £62 million of investment by the United States. 

Both Kinloss and Leuchars are Army bases after being repurposed by the Ministry of Defence. 

Gavin Williamson cut the first turf for the new home for the Poseidon marine patrol aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth in April.

The changes caused some confusion among politicians at the time, but local MSP for Moray, Richard Lochhead, has since said: "Confirmation of Kinloss' long-term future is needed as it seems it is now needed as back up for Lossiemouth."

An RAF spokesperson said: "During the summer of 2019, routine Typhoon Squadron flying will briefly operate out of Kinloss and the Quick Reaction Alert North function will temporarily relocate to Leuchars.

"The first two P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft, that are due to arrive in the UK from February 2020, will be temporarily based at Kinloss Airfield, before moving to their permanent home at RAF Lossiemouth once the main runway has been refurbished."

The new facility at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray is expected to be completed in 2020, coinciding with the initial operation of the UK's new P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.