New P8 maritime patrol aircraft to be based at RAF Lossiemouth
Prime Minister David Cameron will this afternoon (Monday Nov 23) confirm plans to buy nine new Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
The aircraft will share the Lossiemouth base with Typhoon fighter aircraft.
Speaking on the Good Morning Scotland programme, the BBC's defence correspondent Jonathan Beale said: "There was a debate as to whether the new maritime patrol aircraft should be based in Lincolnshire, at RAF Waddington, where a lot of the surveillance aircraft the RAF has are based, or in Scotland - and the decision has been taken that they will be based in Lossiemouth."
The UK's fleet of Nimrod surveillance aircraft were based at RAF Kinloss until they were scrapped in 2010 as part of the defence review. The cancellation of the Nimrod led to the closure of RAF Kinloss an aircraft base, but the site is now home to 39 Engineer Regiment.
The Ministry of Defence is currently relying on French and Canadian aircraft during a search after a reported sighting of a Russian submarine off the Scottish coast.
Welcoming the news, Leader of Moray Council, Cllr Stewart Cree, said: “I’m delighted to hear that the military presence in Moray is to be strengthened.
“We argued and campaigned vociferously against the closure of RAF Kinloss, and were deeply disappointed when the decision to scrap the Nimrod fleet was announced.
“In the changing global situation the re-establishment of a maritime surveillance and patrol facility here on the Moray coast line makes perfect sense”.
Audio MP4 file available in 'related material' section below.
- The P-8 Poseidon is a modified version of Boeing's 737-800 passenger aircraft, as used by budget airlines Easyjet and Ryanair
- It is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
- The aircraft can carry and launch torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons.
- It can also drop and monitor sonobuoys, which are used to help locate and trace submarines.
- The P-8 can fly at altitudes of up to 41,000 feet and at speeds of up to 490 knots.
- It can fly up to 4,500 miles from its base without refuelling.
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