RAF Lossiemouth has received a fourth operational Typhoon squadron.
The personnel and aircraft of IX(B) Squadron will be at the heart of the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Force, ready to take off within minutes of an alert being triggered.
The Squadron was officially stood up at a ceremonial parade and flypast at RAF Lossiemouth, but has been operational since 1 April. The standing up of the new Squadron coincides with RAF Lossiemouth marking its 80th anniversary.
At the ceremony Eurofighter CEO Herman Claesen presented the new squadron with a Eurofighter sword to formally welcome it to the wider Eurofighter family.
Some of the Squadron’s aircraft will be painted in distinctive markings to identify them as training ‘adversaries’, in their role as ‘aggressors’. In this role, they will provide training to RAF and NATO fast-jet pilots, as they will play the role of opposing aircraft which match their speed and manoeuvrability while using the real-world dogfighting and air combat tactics against them.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier said:
“RAF Lossiemouth has and will continue to play a key role in the Defence of the United Kingdom, being ready to intercept potential airborne threats 24/7 and in addition shortly becoming home to our nine new submarine hunting P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft. These will work with our Typhoon force to patrol far out into the Atlantic protecting the UK’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent and two new aircraft carriers.
The transition of IX Sqn from Tornado to Typhoon is one important part of the expansion of RAF Lossiemouth which will see the number of service personnel here increase to some 2,300, supported by a further 1,800 MOD civilian and contractor staff.
I am proud to see our Combat Air capabilities continue to grow, a necessity as they will undoubtedly continue to be in exceptionally high demand on operations, here in the UK and across the world.”
Quick Reaction Alert involves aircraft ready to scramble 24/7, 365 days a year, with aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby protecting northern and southern UK airspace respectively.
In recent months, Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth have been scrambled four times as long-range Russian bombers approached UK airspace.