A delay on completing a runway at a Moray RAF base means a multi-billion-pound fleet of planes won’t be able to take off until 2021, it has emerged.
The Daily Record has reported that the RAF’s new, £3billion P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance jets were due to arrive at RAF Lossiemouth in February.
However, a contract to upgrade the runway to take the new planes was only awarded in October, meaning the jets will not be able to take to the skies until 2021.
The Ministry of Defence has insisted that while the project has been delayed, a temporary home for the aircraft at nearby Kinloss had always been the intention.
A MOD spokesman said: “Essential runway refurbishment is planned at RAF Lossiemouth to accommodate the P-8As and an additional Typhoon Squadron.
“During the programme’s assessment phase, it was identified that the P-8A parking area also required some remedial work.
“The refurbishment timing has therefore been adjusted to combine the upgrades and ensure it remains affordable.
“The plan has always been for these aircraft to operate from Kinloss during the refurbishment.”
The RAF took delivery of the first of nine P-8As at an unveiling ceremony in Seattle in October.
The aircraft is designated for extended surveillance missions and is equipped with sensors that use high-resolution area mapping to find surface and sub-surface threats.