In July 2011, the then Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced that RAF Leuchars, Fife was to close, with the Typhoon force relocating to RAF Lossiemouth, Moray. Before the move north, there were a number of small Exercises named “Moray Venture.” These provided personnel from 6 Squadron the ability to test the new operating facilities ahead of their arrival planned for June 2014. It was also a chance for RAF Lossiemouth personnel to gain experience of Typhoon operations. 10th June 2014 saw the first arrivals with three Typhoons from 6 Squadron arriving at their new home. 20th June saw a mass arrival from 6 Squadron to the Moray base.
On Monday 6th September 2010, 6 Squadron, the first Typhoon Squadron in Scotland, officially stood up at RAF Leuchars. Since March 2011, 6 Squadron have been responsible for Northern QRA (Quick Reaction Alert), providing aircraft and crews on high alert to scramble and intercept unidentified aircraft approaching UK airspace. They took over Northern QRA from the Panavia Tornado F3 which retired from RAF service on 22nd March 2011.
Work began at RAF Lossiemouth for the transition to Typhoon operations almost immediately. Most notably is the new QRA accommodation in the Northern HAS site at Lossiemouth. Work has also been carried out to both numbers 1 and 3 hangar to accommodate the new arrivals.
RAF Lossiemouth Station Commander, Group Captain Mark Chappell had to following to say about the new arrivals and the future of the Moray base.
“Today is a very exciting day for all of us at Royal Air Force Lossiemouth as we welcome Number 6 Squadron to their new home. It marks the beginning of a new chapter as Lossie takes over Northern Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) from Royal Air Force Leuchars. Although there is still plenty work to be done in preparation for Number 1 (F) Squadron’s move in September, as well as Number 2 Squadrons formation at RAF Lossiemouth in 2015, the station is ready to take on this new role.”
When asked what the future holds for the Tornado fleet at RAF Lossiemouth, Group Captain Chappell replied.
“XV (Reserve) Squadron will continue to train RAF Tornado GR4 Pilots and Navigators until 2018. We sadly lost both Number 12 (B) and Number 617 Squadrons back in March of this year. Thankfully almost all members of both Squadrons have either attained a post at RAF Marham on one of their Tornado Squadrons, transitioned to Typhoon and are still based at Lossie, after initial training at Leuchars. Some have attained a post on another type in the RAF or an overseas tour, with a very small number leaving the Air Force.”
Leading the formation of Typhoons on arrival to RAF Lossiemouth, was Wing Commander Mike Baulkwill Officer Commanding Number 6 Squadron, in 6 Squadron’s Centenary jet ZK342/ED. Wing Commander Baulkwill spoke about the move.
“It’s been a sad but exciting day as we (6 Squadron) said goodbye to RAF Leuchars and said hello to our new home, here at RAF Lossiemouth. Everyone on the Squadron has had a great time in Fife, but we’re excited to be here at RAF Lossiemouth and to finally arrive in Moray.”
The Squadron marked the occasion by flying a nine jet formation of 6 over both RAF Leuchars and RAF Lossiemouth.
It will be business as usual for 6 Squadron after a short settling in period, as the Squadron prepares for RAF Lossiemouth to take over Northern QRA from RAF Leuchars in September, shortly before 1(F) Squadron move to the Moray base.
AeroResource would like to thanks Flt Lt Baxter, Group Captain Mark Chappell, Wing Commander Mike Baulkwill for their assistance.