Typhoon jets landed at Kinloss, which is now an army barracks, to test how crews respond.
Kinloss Barracks is a former Royal Air Force station in the north of Scotland. The RAF station opened on in April 1939 and served as a training establishment during the Second World War. After the war it was handed over to Coastal Command to watch over Russian ships and submarines in the Norwegian Sea. Until 2010 it was the main base for the RAF’s fleet of Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol aircraft.
It was intended that the MR2 would be replaced by the Nimrod MRA4, but the MRA4 was cancelled in the Strategic Defence and Security Review of October 2010. This meant that Kinloss was no longer required by the RAF. Regular flying operations ceased in July 2011. However, the runways are still maintained to be used as a relief landing site, e.g. from RAF Lossiemouth in this case.
In November 2011 the Ministry of Defence and 12 (Air Support) Engineer Group announced that 930 Service personnel from 39 Engineer Regiment (Air Support) would move from Waterbeach Barracks, near Cambridge, to Kinloss in summer 2012.
Squadron Leader Rob Coffey coordinated the flights said:
“As we had not had to use Kinloss for a real Typhoon diversion, since its inception as a Relief Landing Ground, we planned this exercise in order to practice our procedures and aircraft recovery actions.
The exercise was an opportunity for the fire section, in particular, to practice their actions after the use of the Runway Hydraulic Arrestor Gear, alongside ground engineering personnel, and also for dealing with an aircraft with hot brakes.
All our procedures worked well and the exercise provided excellent training for the RAF personnel, based at Kinloss, as well as the Typhoon crews at RAF Lossiemouth.”
Tornado jets have already used the landing strip since it was transferred to the army. The exercise at the barracks will need to be repeated in the future to ensure that current procedures remain fit for purpose.