A giant Antonov AN-124 cargo aircraft delivered a new Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) for RAF Lossiemouth to Glasgow Prestwick this Monday.

It forms part of a new £132m strategic facility that Boeing Defence UK (BDUK) and local construction partner Robertson have built over the past two years.

The simulators will provide the necessary training for the pilots who will operate the Poseidon MRA Mk1 fleet. RAF Lossiemouth will house all nine Poseidon aircraft by the end of 2021.

The Poseidon aircraft will fill the UK’s aerial maritime patrol role and are designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) as well as surveillance, search and reconnaissance operations.

Simulators generate emergency situations that are uncommon in real life and allow pilots to practice complex procedures to avoid threats in the air or from the ground.

An Antonov-124 cargo aircraft transported the first of two simulators to RAF Lossiemouth on Tuesday morning from Orlando, Florida. Due to the width and height of the simulator, the Antonov is one of only a few aircraft in the world large enough to transport it.

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Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) Project Manager for Training in the Poseidon delivery team Mark Cordon said: “These simulators have the compatibility to link up with the mission simulators used by the rear crew, allowing them to train together.

“It’s an essential part of making sure the pilots are fully prepared to operate the new fleet of aircraft.”

This arrival of the simulator comes amid major renovations at RAF Lossiemouth. The simulators and new facility form part of £470m UK Government investment in the base.

As of Autumn 2020, Lossiemouth will be the headquarters of the UK’s P-8 Poseidon fleet.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “The new Poseidon fleet will reassert the UK in the maritime patrol arena. It will play an invaluable role in our national security for decades to come.”

The 33,000 square metre facility includes a three-bay hangar, accommodation for two squadrons, plus state-of-the-art training equipment and facilities for those working on the fleet of Poseidon aircraft. It will employ 470 additional military and civilian personnel.

On 23 July 2020 Boeing handed over the Poseidon facility to the Ministry of Defence.