The defence secretary has announced a £230 million investment in the UK’s submarine hunter fleet at RAF Lossiemouth.
The funding will create 153 jobs with more than 100 positions based in Moray.
A contract for the RAF’s Poseidon Maritime Aircraft fleet has been signed with Boeing Defence UK (BDUK).
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the contract award and jobs for RAF Lossiemouth is “another great example of the benefits UK defence investment brings to Scotland”.
He added: “The Moray station’s fleet of Poseidon submarine hunting aircraft are vital to maintaining the security of the UK and our NATO allies, and prosperity generated by defence employment in Scotland, alongside the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs, will help us build back better from the pandemic.”
Specialising in anti-submarine warfare, the Poseidon is the RAF’s multi-role maritime patrol aircraft.
Working alongside the Royal Navy and close maritime allies such as the US and Norway, Poseidon locates, identifies and tracks potentially hostile submarines operating around UK waters.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Our new Poseidon fleet continues to grow from strength to strength and is already defending the UK’s maritime interests at home and abroad.
“This contract with Boeing Defence UK secures our critical submarine-hunting aircraft capabilities whilst also creating a home-grown training enterprise and creating more than 150 British jobs.”
Jobs for base
A total of 107 of the 153 jobs will be based at RAF Lossiemouth, with the remaining 46 jobs going to Bristol, Yeovil and Gosport.
The Poseidon fleet is operated from a new £100 million facility at RAF Lossiemouth, opened in September 2020.
More than 300 jobs were supported during the facility’s construction. The facility has a three-bay hangar, accommodation for squadrons, training, mission support and two state-of-the art flight simulators.
RAF Lossiemouth has also undergone a £75 million upgrade to the runway and other operating surfaces.
It will be the future home of the UK’s fleet of Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning surveillance aircraft, Scotland’s crucial role in UK and NATO defence and security.
Moray Council’s SNP leader Graham Leadbitter said: “Boeing’s Strategic Facility at Lossiemouth has been an enormous investment in Moray providing highly skilled job opportunities and fantastic new skills routes for school leavers and others.
“This further contract announcement cements that investment and is very welcome.”
He added: “The Poseidon Fleet of aircraft carry out a critical role and having their maintenance and operations base at Lossiemouth is a tremendous asset to Moray and emphasise Scotland’s strategic geographic location in the North Atlantic.”
DE&S P-8A Poseidon team leader, Malcom French said: “I am extremely proud of the P-8A delivery team and what is yet another example of great delivery by DE&S.
“Placed to a tight timescale, and encompassing exacting requirements, this contract helps enable the full range of capability that Poseidon brings to be realised, sees our modern aircraft fully supported, and our personnel being trained from state-of-the-art facilities.”
Nine Poseidon, based on the Boeing 737-800, have already been ordered from Boeing by the UK.
Five aircraft named the Pride of Moray, City of Elgin, Terence Bulloch, Spirit of Reykjavik and Fulmar are all now operating out of Lossiemouth, with four more to come later this year.
The new investment in the Poseidon fleet is supported by the £24 billion increase to defence spending over the next four years and will ensure the aircraft can continue to undertake its vital role in securing our seas and combating rapidly evolving threats.
Moray MP Douglas Ross welcomed the deal, and said the deal will provide “vital training and support for the Poseidon fleet”.
He added: “Not only is this a very welcome boost for Moray but I’m sure will also be widely welcomed in the town where many service personnel live and use local services and where businesses are struggling to get back on their feet after the pandemic and what has been a very difficult year for them.
“There has been massive investment at Lossiemouth in recent years and this further contract and additional jobs once again shows how vital the base is to the UK Government and the Ministry of Defence.”