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.

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John Clark

Great to see 9 Squdron back and the bat looks great on the Typhoon.

Shame it’s only sharing from the existing pool and not a net increase in airframes.

That said, aircraft are only part of the story, of arguably greater importance is the need for more air and ground crew.

The new bodies coming from the now defunct Tornado force should improve critical mass somewhat….. It needs to, as Typhoon is the only game in town now.

Daniele Mandelli

Yep, that is key. Less aircraft but the same number of squadrons.

The real issue here for me is putting 4 squadrons of Typhoon plus 2 of the the P8 at Lossimouth. We have a perfectly good base up the road at Kinloss now occupied by 39 RE, and the old RAF Leuchars with all the infrastructure of a QRA station, which it carried out for decades, also occupied by the army.

Should be 2 Typhoon squadrons at Leuchars 2 at Lossimouth.

At least these old RAF Stations are retained on the MoD estate in case they are needed again.

Geoff Roach

Hi Daniele. Back again but muddled. How many Typhoon sqds. are we going to have? Every time I look online the number seems to change. Maybe it’s me !!


Kinloss should House the p8s for sure. It’s a 10 min drive from my house and I miss the aircraft the raf base was good for the community, the army’s different!! Dam squadies!


Minus one cam from a dam squaddie LOL


Ok m8 ?lol

Robert Blay

In a perfect world that would be great, but the cost of running 3 RAF stations instead of 1 very large one is considerable.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree Robert I was aware of that. Indeed in an ideal world.


But they are keeping kinloss runway and tower operational and will base army personnel in the rest of the base so why not just put RAF back. I see ur point though, I like the idea of big RAF bases.

Oscar Zulu

The RAAF has heavily invested in the F35A which will form the backbone of its fighter force into the 2030s. It is likely to be supplemented by Boeing’s recently announced unmanned ‘loyal wingman’ UAS (to be built in Australia) rather than another manned platform. Given that Tempest is a clean sheet design currently at the conceptual stage, it is likely to take at least a decade to design, finance, develop and test and it would not likely be operationally deployed until closer to two decades from now. Two decades is a long time and we are likely to see further… Read more »


Good job that Australia isn’t seen as a market or partner for Tempest then.

They’re utterly tied in to US procurement these days for aerial platforms. I suspect unless they buy some A400 (unlikely) or additional A330 (a distant possibility) that all of their purchases of aircraft will be from the US following the Tiger and NH-90 debacles.


It’s great Lossiemouth been kept, but kinloss should be home to the p8s. The base is occupied and runways being kept operational as a stand by airfield and used to house the nimrods so why not! The p8s will be based there for a few months… but it’s to late! Bigger RAF bases but less seems to be the way forward!

Big Jim

I sincerely hope that Kinloss gets the P8 fleet. They moved 39 Engr Regt from Waterbeach to there to keep the air base for a future RAF station.

In doing so they hacked off a load of soldiers because it is really hard to travel home. Not even the Scottish blokes like it for travel purposes.

John Hampson

Reduce the order for F-35’s by 24. ( Still unconviced by the sales pitch and the limited load before stealth is lost. Neither is Germany The US order for F15’s and F18’s may also be significant). Order 48 new Typhoons with upgrades, including Conformal Fuel Tanks, Leading edge root extensions which apparently give much improved agility, engine upgrades. This may keep the BAE’s manufacturing capability going until the Tempest. The matured and evolved Typhoon may actually find export oppotunities. Get serious with the Tempest, Sweden (none eurozone), Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia possible partners. ( Turkey seems intent on getting… Read more »

Paul T

Id agree with the swapping of F35 orders in favour of another batch of Typhoons.It stands to reason that F35 Production will continue long after the Typhoon lines are finally closed,this gives the option of more F35 orders later on if needed.As to the likelihood of this happening I’m not too sure,but as ive said here before the MOD should be at least negotiating with the Austrians in regards their replacement of Typhoon for another type,if their 15 can be bought at firesale prices it would be good business ,granted they are Tranch 1 only and wouldn’t add much more… Read more »


I think buying 2nd hand 1st Tranche Typhoons would be a gross waste of public money. The RAF didn’t even want to keep their own Tranche 1s after 10 years.

Paul T

The whys and wherefores of what the RAF wanted to do with their T1 Typhoons will always be a mystery, governed as always by the Treasury/MOD etc,perhaps they thought that early retirement of them would have got T3 or T4 orders to replace them which never materialised.All I’m saying is that if the door to further Typhoon orders is definitely shut and the Austrian Aircraft could be had at a good price it would make sense,as this article describes IX Squadron will use T1 Typhoons and they will need spares and attrition replacements over time.


Expensive way to source spare parts though! I mean, yes, if we’re really in a hole, we could buy them, but I think we need to bite the bullet and buy more and invest in the upgrades. It’s ludicrous BAE Systems salesmen can walk into a room and try and sell Typhoon on the strength of promises of future kit we’re not prepared to pay for ourselves like AESA, CFTs, etc. which are already being offered as standard on Typhoon’s competitors. The Typhoon line will wind down because none of the original national partner customers are willing to to back… Read more »

R Cummings

The original Typhoon F2 is a good aircraft in its original role, as an air-to-air interceptor/fighter. It is what is needed for long-range interception of incoming Russian/whoever bombers and attack planes, as I hope the Tempest will be, if it ever comes to pass. We have 2 squadrons of them, which would normally mean 48 aircraft (12 front line + squadron reserve, wartime reserve, OCU, attrition, TWU each sqn). We have 37, so are nominally 11 short, which means both squadrons are well under-strength. I would buy the Austrian jets or surplus German/Italian/Spanish ones pronto to make up the numbers,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Just being picky about Typhoons at Boulmer, it has no runways!!

Boulmer is an ASCS CRC ( Control Reporting Centre ) and RRH ( Remote Radar head, though the radar is at Brizlee Wood )

Leemings your base. There were 3 Tornado F3 squadrons there once. It still has HAS and all the facilities. Though other units have moved in since so I do not know what extra accomodation infrastructure would be needed for a Typhoon Wing.


I think it would be a chronic waste of resources to buy used Typhoon F2s, an aircraft that is good for only one task and a task that isn’t heavily strained during peacetime. As much as the RAF may like to report QRA intercepts of Russian aircraft over the North Sea, they aren’t facing huge bomber fleets and engaged in attritional fighting: we’re not short of assets that can zip up and intercept the weekly Tupolev flight to Scotland. It would be a waste to invest in a used, single role aircraft now to augment units assigned to QRA. If… Read more »

R Cummings

Problem is, that’s Government think: as we are at peace, we just need the minimum possible assets to juggle the peacetime requirement. So despite the massive cuts at the end of the Cold War and through the 90s, since 2010, the Conservatives have slashed the small number of fast jet combat aircraft from 260 to 160* and of course the aircrew and groundcrew accordingly. There is no provision there for quick expansion in time of need, where the key component is the personnel rather than the aircraft. It takes 3 years to train a combat pilot, you can build or… Read more »

R Cummings

* The current drastically reduced number of FJCAs is 160, comprising:

– 107 Typhoon FG4
– 37 Typhoon F2
– 16 (usable) F-35B

We should have run on some of the Tornado squadrons until the F-35B production line gets into full gear, but no – what a tempting premature cut for the Government and Treasury, who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.


It’s crazy how each tranche of typhoon is very different when most people just think typhoons are all the same…


That is exactly the same situation as F-16, F-15, F-18…even Tornado in its post GR.1 guise was substantially different across versions. The UK’s GR.4 was substantially different to the German, less advanced. MLU.

Chris H

@John Hampson – I am not convinced the UK will ever order 138 F-35B aircraft. Especially as we are now embarked on Tempest which will come on stream as the earliest Typhoons are retired. Neither do I think we should order F-35As! As to Tempest itself I am on record as being very opposed to any involvement in the project by either Japan or South Korea. 3 main reasons: * Japan always insists on home production (witness F-15 and Merlin) * Both Japan and SK are nothing more than extensions of US military purchasing strategy. They of course totally rely… Read more »


Umm… Not sure all the logic hangs together. Dont let someone invest because they have bought US in the past…. Dont involve Japanese because they will want to manufacture at home….. Sweden is ok… Australia wont…. Sweden has a sound fast jet manufacturing and export record and they would be looking for a share of the manufacturing cake. Australia has a history of selecting what it considers the right kit for its needs in the past (leopard MBT, NAVAL GROUPSubs,) and developing / evolving its own spec when it needs it (Wedgetail and Type26) rather than simply takng US kit… Read more »

Chris H

@pete. Well given what you quoted was not quite what I was arguing then maybe the logic isn’t right. “Dont let someone invest because they have bought US in the past” Not at all what I wrote so not a good start. “Dont involve Japanese because they will want to manufacture at home” Well that was one of 3 compelling objections but not an exclusive one because I also accepted Sweden and Canada will want to do the same. So you selectively choose something that I was not specifically arguing against. “Australia has a history of selecting what it considers… Read more »


Why is it okay for Sweden and Canada to produce the Tempest in their countries but not for Japan? Is Japan’s sovereign rights to want to build the aircraft on their own soil less important than the rights of Canada & Sweden to build a joint venture aircraft in their countries? Then there’s the question of why would either Japan or South Korea want to join the Tempest program? They both already have their own on-going next gen fighter programs. It would be a waste of time and money for them to join a program that is in its infancy… Read more »

Chris H

@Rokuth – Please read what I have written in its entirety. I am NOT being selective as to one country against another. The reason I say we should not engage with Japan and SK as PARTNERS is because of their attachment to, and part of, the US Incorporated military machine. And indeed you make the point yourself by pointing out they have their own objectives in play

Now whether any country wishes to join us is up to them. That is hardly the argument I am making.


I don’t think you should rule out potential customers based on their previous purchasing history – that’s not a great way to run a business! Japan and South Korea are massive markets so to rule them out is crazy – they are precisely the economies we want to be selling our tat to, Brexit or no Brexit. Japan and SK, and Australia and Canada, and just about everyone else for 40 odd years who are not utterly corrupt and can’t be bought by a BAE/Downing St bung has bought American because it works and is good value. We need to… Read more »

Chris H

@the_marquis – Come on that was not my argument at all. I said Australia was hardly likely to buy Tempest given its current dependence on the US aerospace industry. And specifically now the F-35A. I dod not in any way say we should NOT sell to them. I just pointed out it was highly unlikely they would buy. Now as to Japan and SK by all means sell to them. I never said otherwise. I was pointing up my concerns as to having them as PARTNERS. Now we can debate whether them setting up a production line (as the Italians… Read more »


I think Japan and S Korea would be good partners. Both will have a need for a Tempest type aircraft in the future, and both have a solid industrial base. It would be lovely to think we would build a military fast jet all by ourselves, and flog it to the world, but that would cost a lot of money and no UK Govt will do that. Furthermore, to sell it to other countries, you will need to give some kind of industrial participation, as Saab has with Brazil on the Gripen NG, where the initial purchase cost is offset.… Read more »

Chris H

@the_marquis – I had to respond to this comment separately: “Japan and SK, and Australia and Canada, and just about everyone else for 40 odd years who are not utterly corrupt and can’t be bought by a BAE/Downing St bung has bought American because it works and is good value” I wouldn’t be so naive as to believe US Incorporated sell their wares on purely value for money / functionality reasons. There are politics, commercial leverage and other ‘inducements’ at play as there are anywhere else in the world. Arms sales is a mucky business and if you are in… Read more »


There’s a difference between political wheeling and dealing, and outright corruption. The Serious Fraud Office knows the difference, they compiled a weighty case file on it. BAE Systems knows the difference, which is why they paid out millions in fines and out of court settlements. Since the Lockheed scandal, in fact, the US companies used to bemoan the fact they couldn’t “compete” with the European firms for deals, due to the more stringent anti-bribery laws the US has. That said, I also believe there’s a difference between customers, too. Countries with existential threats to their state aren’t going to settle… Read more »

Chris H

@the_marquis – I won’t extend the partners in Tempest debate any further as I would rather agree to disagree but I feel I must (again) refute what you keep peddling about corruption and BAE. You presumably read my earlier reply and yet still keep on? BAE were NOT charged with any corruption in the USA it was sales of aircraft using US equipment without authority ie breach of licence and dispensation from the US Government. The lesser charges mean its ability to conduct future business in the U.S. – where it is the biggest foreign supplier to the Pentagon –… Read more »


I’d be happy for the UK to commit to going it alone on Tempest and developing an aircraft that suits our purposes and supports UK industry, even at the cost of exports. Some people might say the Rafale is an expensive failure due to its lack of export success, but I think that is unfair. The French pretty much built their own 4.5 generation multirole aircraft from the ground up, using mostly domestically sourced kit. it fulfils everything their armed forces need – air defence, interdiction, nuclear strike, naval aviation etc, and it came into service quicker than Typhoon (most… Read more »


We should definitely buy more Typhoons to get us at least up to the 160 mark, but preferably closer to 200. We should also push ahead with AESA, CFTs, Meteor and the proposed upgraded EJ200 engine that would push it to 28,000lb class. Such a commitment would also hopefully give potential export customers added confidence in opting for Typhoon over the other candidates. How this could be funded though is difficult, unless numbers are cut elsewhere. The US is buying more F15s and F/A18s because they expect to use them either in combat or as a deterrent. MoD policy (governed… Read more »


I’m another who would ditch a pile of the F35s and the expenditure that goes with them and throw it at Typhoon for now. I’m almost positive they could be combat ready long before the flying money pits are.


Brilliant. My parents were stationed at Lossiemouth. That is where they met.

Nigel Collins

A further increase in Typhoon numbers seems the best option given that Tempest’s airframe could incorporate the majority of Typhoons current powerplant, electronics etc. and be used as a testbed for future upgrades for Tempest too. A perfect fit for the RAF both short and long term. The F35B will not reach full operational capability until at least 2025 (block 4 software-internal fitting of Meteor) only two to three years before Tempest will first take to the skies. It appears to me that we are pretty much in the middle of a cycle, F35 12yrs too late, and Tempest 12yrs… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach

I’m a bit confused as to how many Typhoon squadrons we’re going to have under current plans. Anybody care to help me out?

Alan Reid

Hi Geoffrey, With the reintroduction of Tranche 1 equipped Nos 9 & 12 squadrons, there will be seven front-line Typhoon Squadrons, plus an Operational Conversion Unit (29R Squadron), four at both Lossiemouth & Coningsby.
You can also throw in No.41 Squadron, a Test & Evaluation unit – plus No.1435 Flight in the Falklands Islands.
By my count, there should be about 144 Typhoons in the inventory, plus currently 17 Lightning IIs. An alarmingly small number of combat jets, in view of the myriad of tasks out there.

Daniele Mandelli

Beat me to it Alan.

Geoffrey Roach

Thanks Alan…next time Daniele !

Nigel Collins

A further increase in Typhoon numbers seems the best option given that Tempest’s airframe could incorporate the majority of Typhoons current powerplant, electronics etc. and be used as a testbed for future upgrades for Tempest too. A perfect fit for the RAF both short and long term, with the Royal Navy taking onboard the F35B as we have no other option currently available for the carriers. The F35B will not reach full operational capability until at least 2025 (block 4 software-internal fitting of Meteor) only two to three years before Tempest will first take to the skies. It appears to… Read more »

Nigel Collins

2025 as mentioned above.
“UK begins integrating next-gen weapons for F-35”

andy reeves

more of anything is good news good luck to them all

Daniele Mandelli

There is not more though, that’s the catch.

It is the same squadron as before which operated GR4’s now using the existing Typhoon fleet.

There are still 8 Front line Fast Jet squadrons just like years ago when there were 5 Typhoon and 3 Tornado GR4. now 7 Typhoon 1 F35.

In effect they’ve just played musical chairs with the squadrons and then scrapped the Tornado’s!

The long term aspiration I believe is for 5 Typhoon 4 F35.