UK to base Wedgetail surveillance aircraft fleet at RAF Lossiemouth

21 December 2020 (Last Updated December 21st, 2020 12:30)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) is to base the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning (AEW) Mk1 surveillance aircraft fleet at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland.

UK to base Wedgetail surveillance aircraft fleet at RAF Lossiemouth
The RAF Wedgetail aircraft will start arriving from 2023. Credit: Royal Air Force/UK Crown Copyright.

RAF Lossiemouth is one of two Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) stations that protect the country’s northern airspace.

It is already home to Typhoon combat aircraft squadrons that support NATO air policing missions, one P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft MRA1 squadron, and an RAF Regiment squadron.

UK Minister of State for Defence Baroness Goldie said: “Scotland’s proximity to the waters and skies of the North Atlantic is of crucial importance to the UK’s and NATO’s security – this is why important military bases such as HMNB Clyde and RAF Lossiemouth are located here.

“Defence’s latest decision to base the E-7 Wedgetail at RAF Lossiemouth demonstrates our commitment to investing in Scotland, and will complement and expand upon the success of Typhoon fast jet and submarine hunting Poseidon operations.”

In March 2019, the MOD selected Boeing to provide five E-7 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft to the RAF.

The Wedgetail fleet will start arriving from 2023.

Equipped with advanced technologies and systems, the Wedgetail can track multiple airborne, ground and maritime targets and help maintain continuous surveillance of an operational area.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The UK Government has invested £470m in RAF Lossiemouth over the past two years, including a new £100m strategic facility for the UK’s new fleet of nine submarine-hunting Poseidon P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, built by Elgin-based Robertson.

“Indeed this firm is also building the new shipbuilding hall for the Type 31 Frigate programme at Rosyth in Fife demonstrating just one of the many ways that UK Defence benefits Scottish business.”

“The arrival of the Wedgetail capability in Scotland will provide clear additional security and economic benefits to Scotland.”

Meanwhile, VolkerFitzpatrick has completed runway works to RAF Lossiemouth several months ahead of schedule as part of a £75m contract awarded by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) awarded.