According to local media, military aircraft could return to Leuchars in a bid to counter the threat posed by Russian submarines.
The Courier report that the Ministry of Defence is considering locating several Maritime Patrol Aircraft at the former RAF base to prevent foreign incursions into UK territorial waters.
The MoD is expected to be considering the purchase of Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft as part of the government’s forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review, there has however been no indication of where these aircraft may be based although RAF Waddington seems like the favourite according to our contact in the Royal Air Force.
The production of Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft has been accelerated as domestic and international orders pick up pace. The increase will see production capacity grow beyond the numbers already committed to under Boeing’s current US and Indian Navy contracts leading to speculation by many that the UK is looking at purchasing a number of the aircraft.
Jimmy Dodd, VP and general manager of Mobility, Surveillance and Engagement at Boeing Military Aircraft said:
“The whole idea is to make sure we create a little headroom for the international market as we build the Navy units out. Everything was stalled out waiting on the UK elections, and now that’s over we are hoping activity will increase and there will be a commitment.”
Further fuelling the speculation, in a report on Future Maritime Surveillance, the House of Commons Defence Committee noted that the UK has a strategic requirement for maritime surveillance on a world-wide basis, for both military and non-military purposes. It stated that it had serious concerns regarding the MPA capability gap and its impact on the UK’s ability to undertake the military tasks envisaged by SDSR 2010.
In his evidence to the same Committee in October of last year, the Secretary of State for Defence stated that SDSR 2015 would need to consider the MPA capability in detail, considering whether ‘based on our experience since 2010 of managing this risk – largely by working with allies – it is a capability that we need to regenerate and, if so, how we would most efficiently regenerate it.
Discussions with the Ministry of Defence are believed to be centred on an initial contract for six firm plus six options, Boeing’s involvement has so far been minimal as the US Navy will lead any negotiations.