RAF Lossiemouth

Skip to content
RAF Lossiemouth crest

THE STATION

RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, north-east Scotland is one of two RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) stations which protect UK airspace. In general terms, RAF Lossiemouth protects the UK's northern airspace, and RAF Coningsby protects the south.

Team Lossie is made up of four Typhoon combat aircraft squadrons, one P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft squadron, and an RAF Regiment squadron.

Aircraft and crews are maintained on high alert in order to scramble and intercept unidentified aircraft approaching UK airspace.

RAF Lossiemouth personnel and aircraft also support operations worldwide and host numerous national and international exercises.

Commander

Portrait of Group Captain Chris Layden MA RAF

Group Captain Chris Layden MA RAF

Group Captain Chris Layden joined the RAF in 1992. After flying training he was posted to XI(F) Sqn at RAF Leeming, where he flew the Tornado F3 on operational deployments enforcing the no-fly zones over southern Iraq.

He converted from the Tornado F3 to the Typhoon in 2010, first on 3(F) Squadron and then on XI(F) Squadron which he would later command. In 2015 he deployed to the Gulf as Chief of Staff (Operations) No 83 Expeditionary Air Group, responsible for approving UK air strikes on targets in Iraq and Syria. Thereafter, he has served in the UK Joint Force Air Component and UK Permanent Joint Headquarters. He began his tenure as the Station Commander of RAF Lossiemouth in April 2020.

ADDRESS

Our postal address is:

RAF Lossiemouth
Lossiemouth
Moray
IV31 6SD

Contact us electronically

For Media / General Enquiries:
LOS-MediaAndComms@mod.gov.uk

For Station Visits:
See Visiting the Station.

For the Station Heritage Centre:
See the Heritage Centre

To find out more about our Flying Activities:
See the page on Flying Information here.

Information about Drone Flying:
See the page on Flying your Drone here.

For Flying Complaints:
See the page on Flying Complaints here.

Who's based here

  • 51 Squadron RAF Regiment
  • 2622 Squadron RAuxAF Regiment

KEY DATES

  • From 1939: Station opened as a RAF training base with 15 Flying Training School as the first unit.
  • 1939-1945: Home to a number of units operating in Anti-Shipping roles, including IX(B) Squadron and 617 Squadron who launched the famous raid against Tirpitz.
  • From 1946: Became HMS Fulmar (Royal Naval Air Station Lossiemouth) as part of the Fleet Air Arm.
  • 1967-1970: Commanded by the famous Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown, the most decorated pilot in the history of the Royal Navy, who still holds many world records to this day.
  • From 1972: Reverted to RAF control, becoming RAF Lossiemouth once again. Search and Rescue helicopters from 202 Squadron, along with Jaguars from 226 Squadron begin operating from the Station. They are soon joined by Shackleton AEW aircraft from 8 Squadron.
  • From 1978: 48 Squadron RAF Regiment move to RAF Lossiemouth, equipped with the Rapier surface-to-air missile system.
  • From 1979: 2622 (Highland) Royal Air Force Auxiliary Regiment form at RAF Lossiemouth, providing a dedicated ground defence capability.
  • From 1980: 12 Squadron move north from RAF Honington, where they operate the Buccaneer from RAF Lossiemouth. They are joined in 1983 by 208 Squadron.
  • From 1991: All three Buccaneer squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth are involved in Operation Granby in the First Gulf War. 
  • From 1993: 12 Squadron begins operating the Tornado GR1B from RAF Lossiemouth.
  • From 1999: 15(R) Squadron begins operating from RAF Lossiemouth as the Tornado GR4 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU).
  • From 2001: 51 Squadron RAF Regiment is re-established, joining 2622 (Highland) RAuxAF Squadron, under 5 Force Protection Wing Headquarters.
  • From 2011: It was announced that QRA(I)N would move from RAF Leuchars to RAF Lossiemouth.
  • From 2014: QRA(I)N permanently moved to RAF Lossiemouth, with 6 Squadron moving in June 2014, 1(F) Squadron moving in September 2014, and II(AC) Squadron moving in January 2015.
  • From 2015: RAF Lossiemouth Mountain Rescue Team moves from Kinloss to Lossiemouth.
  • From 2019: IX(B) Squadron was formally re-roled from Tornado at RAF Marham to Typhoon at RAF Lossiemouth.
  • From 2020: The first two of nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft touched down at nearby Kinloss Barracks. They are expected to move to RAF Lossiemouth at the end of 2020 when runway resurfacing is completed.

HISTORY

RAF Lossiemouth opened in May 1939, with the first flying unit being 15 Flying Training Squadron. The first Station Commander was Group Captain P E Maitland MVO AFC RAF.

Following the outbreak of World War Two and the increase in tempo, 20 Operational Training Unit became the major unit on base, utilising satellite airfields at Bogs O’Mayne, Milltown and Brackla. 

RAF Lossiemouth became a staging location for Anti-Shipping missions, including the famous raid against the German u-boat Tirpitz, involving IX (Bomber) and 617 Squadrons.

In 1946 the Fleet Air Arm took over Lossiemouth and Milltown (HMS Fulmar, or Royal Naval Air Station Lossiemouth). It was during this time that the Station was commanded by Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown, a man who still holds many aviation world records to this day.

With the Defence Review of 1966 the Navy lost its aircraft carriers and in 1972 handed back the Station to the RAF.

Since the early 1970s the RAF used the Buccaneer, Shackleton, Jaguar and Tornado aircraft, both in training roles and operationally at Lossiemouth.

The Station has been involved in many modern conflicts, including both Gulf conflicts and Afghanistan. In addition, the RAF Regiment is deployed regularly from Lossiemouth.

Between June 2011 and March 2014 14 Squadron, 12 (Bomber) Squadron and 617 Squadron ‘The Dambusters’ were disbanded. The Tornado era ended at RAF Lossiemouth in March 2017 when XV (Reserve) Squadron disbanded.

In 2013/14, 1 (Fighter) Squadron and 6 Squadron relocated to Moray from RAF Leuchars as the Station prepared to become a Typhoon main operating base.

II (Army Co-operation) Squadron ‘stood-up’ and relocated to RAF Lossiemouth in January 2015. D Flight, 202 Squadron, Search And Rescue disbanded in April 2015.  The Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 announced the future basing of P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth.

From September 2014 RAF Lossiemouth’s primary role has been the provision of Quick Reaction Alert (Interceptor) North. QRA maintains aircraft and crews on high alert in order to scramble and intercept unidentified aircraft approaching UK airspace. This is a duty that has been maintained by the RAF on a 24/7 basis for decades.

In 2019, IX (Bomber) Squadron was re-roled from flying Tornado at RAF Marham, to Typhoon at RAF Lossiemouth. This meant RAF Lossiemouth was home to four front-line Typhoon Squadrons. 

With the formation of CXX Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, the Station took delivery of two of its nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The Pride of Moray (ZP801) and the City of Elgin (ZP802) touched down at Kinloss Barracks in February and March of 2020 respectively, where they will remain until the comprehensive resurfacing programme is in its final stages towards the end of the year.

Connect with RAF Lossiemouth

Using Internet Explorer 8? Please switch to using Chrome if you can.