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UK Government announces multi million pound funding for Moray College Hub at RAF Lossiemouth

Why is the UK government spending one extra penny on the sweaties when the SNP will get independence within 10 years?

It’s small beer compared to the £400m investment in the RAF station for F-35 and Poseidon ops.

I do wonder why the RAF didn’t just mothball Kinloss when Nimrod was shitcanned. They knew it would eventually be replaced, and sent the aircrew out on attachment to other air forces to maintain knowledge. Now you‘ve got/will have FJ ops and MPA in the same airfield. What if a Poseidon blacks the runway and there’s a QRA shout with a 737 in the middle of the runway with a collapsed undercarriage that’s gouged the tarmac? Not such a big deal if one runway is at Kinloss and the other is at Lossiemouth. There’d have been less need to build new infrastructure too, just upgrade what was already there.
 
It’s small beer compared to the £400m investment in the RAF station for F-35 and Poseidon ops.

I do wonder why the RAF didn’t just mothball Kinloss when Nimrod was shitcanned. They knew it would eventually be replaced, and sent the aircrew out on attachment to other air forces to maintain knowledge. Now you‘ve got/will have FJ ops and MPA in the same airfield. What if a Poseidon blacks the runway and there’s a QRA shout with a 737 in the middle of the runway with a collapsed undercarriage that’s gouged the tarmac? Not such a big deal if one runway is at Kinloss and the other is at Lossiemouth. There’d have been less need to build new infrastructure too, just upgrade what was already there.

A bit like this really.


 
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Published by: Michael Alexander, The COURIER.co.uk, on 29 October 2020.

Appetite’ to increase use of Leuchars airfield – but no permanent return of RAF jets, confirms Ministry of Defence.

The roar of jets could again become a more common occurrence in the skies over North East Fife after it emerged the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has ambitions to increase the use of Leuchars airfield by military and civilian aircraft.


However, the MoD has confirmed there is “no intention to permanently base military aircraft at Leuchars” amid speculation that RAF squadrons could be relocated to Fife just five years after the RAF base was controversially closed and handed over to the Army.

In a Defence Infrastructure Organisation tendering document seen by The Courier which invites early stage engagement from contractors who may be interested in building new fuel storage facilities at Leuchars, it states that there is “now an appetite to increase usage of the airfield by UK military aircraft and other NATO partners both for exercises and operations, and to expand the use of commercial and business aircraft.”


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A Russian BEAR is escorted from UK airspace by a former RAF Leuchars jet

The document, posted on a defence contractors’ website, states there is a “perceived demand for circa 5.5 million litres” of F34 aviation fuel per annum at Leuchars with possible increasing demand from commercial aircraft.

Leuchars airfield operated as RAF Leuchars until 2014 when, after a century of aviation, the airfield operations were downgraded, and the station was officially taken over by the Army in March 2015.

A skeleton crew of 55 RAF were retained to operate Leuchars as a diversionary airfield.

At that time the Bulk Fuel Installations on site, and all related pipelines for bulk fuel resupply, were closed and decommissioned.

However, the airfield at Leuchars continues to be used as a relief landing ground and exercise staging area, and, in non-Covid times, has been well used by private jets attending international golf tournaments in St Andrews, raking in £454,000 for the MoD in landing fees between 2008 and 2014 alone.

The MoD has previously said it is content “in principle” to speak to any organisation that wishes to look into the use of Leuchars as a commercial airfield – provided any plans reflect the fact it will continue to be a military base.

To support these ongoing activities, the MoD has confirmed it is examining potential options around fuel related infrastructure and services for military and commercial use.

The tendering document states there is a “regular and enduring requirement for aviation (F34) fuel for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to be supplied at MoD Leuchars”.

F34 aviation fuel is currently provided from a bulk fuel tanker at RAF Lossiemouth into one of three MoD owned and operated fuel bowsers that then travel to the airfield at Leuchars to fuel visiting aircraft as required.

The document states: “The lack of any bulk fuel storage at MoD Leuchars currently limits the number of air movements that can be accommodated at MoD Leuchars.”

However, confirming there is no intention to have a second airbase in Scotland – just weeks after RAF Lossiemouth Typhoon jets were temporarily stationed at Leuchars to allow the £75 million resurfacing of their Moray runway – an MoD spokesperson told The Courier: “There is no intention to permanently base military aircraft at Leuchars airfield”.


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A Typhoon jet takes off at RAF Leuchars

North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie described Leuchars as a great asset for the defence of the country and said it is “very good news that the RAF plan to make greater use of that asset”.

He added: “The new investment is good for the base too as it means that the opportunities for even greater use is possible.

“We see from the Open Championship, the commercial potential there is and I would be keen for commercial opportunities to be explored further.

“All this interest shows that there’s a lot more to give at Leuchars. I will do what I can to support it.”

North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain said: “I’m excited to see what further contribution Leuchars can make in the future, and in consultation with the local community and what they see as its future, to discuss this with the Ministry of Defence.

“Even since the RAF left Leuchars in 2015, it is still a fantastic asset for North East Fife supporting local jobs as well as helping put North East Fife’s national contribution on the map.

“I hope that any changes to the set up at Leuchars is done in such a way that the local community here in North East Fife benefits. I will continue to bang the drum of its benefits in Parliament.”

The Courier told in April how old aircraft hangars are among a collection of buildings at Fife’s former RAF base being converted for the army.

With Leuchars home to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, there have also been calls for the Black Watch to be brought “home” to Fife and for Leuchars to become Scotland’s army hub.


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Published by: George Allison, UK DEFENCE JOURNAL, 05 November 2020.

Russian warship operating in Moray Firth.

The Russian guided missile destroyer Severomorsk has been sailing in international waters just north of RAF Lossiemouth for around one week.


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The vessel, staying outside British territorial waters, is accompanied by the tanker ‘Sergei Osipov’.
Readers should understand that the vessel is in international waters and is doing nothing illegal or inappropriate, in fact, most navies (including the Royal Navy) perform these kind of actions with their ships.

In addition to submarines and small vessels, it is understood that there are two Royal Navy frigates in Scottish waters, one of them currently operating near the Clyde. Additionally, it should be noted the Royal Navy do not comment on submarine operations.

More notable is that RAF Lossiemouth is home to the UK Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet, currently four P-8A Poseidon aircraft, and the Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon jets for the northern half of the UK.

A military source at RAF Lossiemouth has told the UK Defence Journal “be under no doubt that the Russian vessel is being watched 24/7”.

The UK and US also sail vessels close to Russia. Earlier in the year, American destroyers and a British frigate were in the Barents Sea following seven days of Arctic operations. The surface action group comprised of Arleigh Burke class destroyers USS Donald Cook, USS Porter, USS Roosevelt, fast combat support ship USNS Supply and the Royal Navy’s HMS Kent entered the Barents Sea in May to conduct training and operations in the challenging conditions of the Arctic region.

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Many will have noticed the tanker ‘Sergei Osipov’ in the Moray Firth, well, the press team for the Russian Northern Fleet have confirmed she is sailing in company with the Severomorsk.

According to a Russian Northern Fleet announcement:
“The large antisubmarine ship of the Northern Fleet Severomorsk and the large sea tanker Sergey Osipov left the Moray Firth Bay of the North Sea and headed for the Barents Sea. The detachment completed the assigned tasks in the North Atlantic and proceeded to move to the main basing point.”
It is understood that the vessels conducted an anti-sabotage defence exercise and worked conducted replenishment of fuel and fresh water from a tanker.

The Russian Northern Fleet say that Severomorsk together with the tanker Sergei Osipov operated in the North Atlantic after participating in the “ninth cruise of the Arctic group of the Northern Fleet”.

Since the start of the cruise, the ship has covered about 11 thousand nautical miles, they add. The Destroyer will now be moving to the coast of Norway to conduct submarine hunting and air defence exercises say the Russian military.


Posted on the RAF Lossiemouth thread; the Offshore Patrol Vesssel thread; and, the All Inter-web Video etc. thread.
 
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