The United States National Defense Authorization Act 2019 has cleared the United States Navy to “acquire property and carry out military construction projects” at RAF Lossiemouth.
The Secretary of the Navy may acquire real property and carry out the military construction projects for the installations outside the United States, and in the amounts, set forth in the following table:
|Greece||Naval Support Activity Souda Bay||$47,850,000|
|Italy||Naval Air Station Sigonella||$66,050,000|
|Spain||Naval Station Rota||$21,590,000|
It’s likely this is in support of a decision last year for the US to routinely base P-8 Poseidon aircraft in Scotland alongside British aircraft. This is supported by a line later in the act that states:
|Navy||Lossiemouth||EDI: P–8 Base Improvements|
The P-8 Poseidon basing agreement was signed last year by Harriett Baldwin, Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement. Some have suggested that this is due to the relatively low numbers to be operated by the UK.
In 2019 the UK will take delivery of its first Poseidon P-8A aircraft and both nations have committed to deepen their defence cooperation when operating in the North Atlantic region.
A press release states:
“Through seeking opportunities to share logistics and support bases and optimise the use of P-8A aircraft, particularly in Europe, the declaration should ensure increased value for money and operational effectiveness.”
Harriett Baldwin said:
“The United States is our pre-eminent ally in global defence and collective security. This declaration is further evidence of how our two countries continue to cooperate and build mutual security, particularly in the North Atlantic region. Backed by a rising defense budget and a £178 billion Equipment Plan, the P-8A program will provide us with enhanced surveillance capabilities.”
The MoD had said that the declaration provides a new opportunity to maximise value for money for the taxpayer and continue to strengthen UK-US interoperability and ‘to pursue efficiencies in operations and support’ say the US, including at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, where the P-8A will bring some 400 plus jobs.
“The Department of Defense and U.K. Ministry of Defense plan to cooperate closely on operation of their P-8A aircraft in the North Atlantic to ensure a coherent approach to MPA activity.”
Air Commodore Ian Gale, senior responsible owner for the Poseidon P-8A program, said:
“This agreement will enhance the UK’s maritime patrol capability and further strengthen UK-US defence relations. The arrival of the Poseidon P-8A in 2019 will provide the U.K. with significantly increased capabilities and bring hi-tech employment to Scotland and the wider UK.”