Massive £400million investment in RAF Lossiemouth announced

A new squadron of Typhoons will touch down at RAF Lossiemouth in 2019.
A new squadron of Typhoons will touch down at RAF Lossiemouth in 2019.

A massive revamp of a Moray airbase will see hundreds of millions of pounds poured into the local economy.

The £400million investment is being made by the Ministry of Defence at RAF Lossiemouth to equip it for new fleets of aircraft.

The expansion is expected to bring an economic boom for the region with an extra 500 personnel moving to the region by 2020.

Construction on the major project, including new hangars, engineering workshops and a mission planning facility for submarine-hunting Poseidon P-8 planes, could begin as early as August.

The investment was confirmed as part of a £1.7billion package north of the border unveiled by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon during a visit to Edinburgh.

But the good news for Moray is not expected to end there as an MoD spokesman confirmed a funding package was due to be announced for Kinloss Barracks in the coming years as part of a restructuring of the Army.

Last night Moray MP Angus Robertson said the investment vindicated the fight to keep the RAF base open.

He said: “I welcome the ongoing investment at Lossiemouth demonstrating the strategic importance of the base, which was a point very strongly argued during the recent fight to save the base from closure.

“With new infrastructure being built it means important work in the area that, in turn, supports the wider Moray economy. In addition, the increasing military and civilian jobs on the base are very important to Moray and will help to sustain many local businesses.

“I have no doubt the new personnel will find a warm welcome here in Moray.”

New houses, an air traffic control centre and fire station are all included in blueprints being drawn up by military chiefs for the new-look RAF Lossiemouth. Runways will also be expanded to accommodate the larger Boeing P-8 aircraft.

Crews using the planes abroad will also touch down in Moray to learn how to work the specialist equipment at a new training centre.

Poseidons already visit the base regularly but the spy planes will take up permanent residence on the Moray coast in April 2020. A new squadron of Typhoons will also touch down in 2019.

Space will be freed up on the base this year as the long-serving Tornados move out.

Yesterday’s investment pledge into Scottish military comes after Sir Michael finalised plans to close eight bases north of the border, including Fort George near Inverness.

At the time he stressed the cuts would allow the MoD to concentrate on “fewer, better locations”.

In Edinburgh yesterday the Defence Secretary also confirmed a £1.3billion investment into the Navy base at Faslane ahead of Dreadnought submarines arriving in Scotland in the 2030s.

The former RAF base in Leuchars, which was shut when Lossiemouth was saved, will become the main base for the Army in Scotland.

Sir Michael added: “Scotland is on the front line of defending the United Kingdom from growing threats at sea, in the air, and on land.

“Our commitment to the future of defence in Scotland is underlined by increasing investment in better infrastructure for the Armed Forces helping to keep us safe.”

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