UK Defence Secretary launches Poseidon aircraft facility

20 April 2018 (Last Updated April 20th, 2018 12:06)

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched a £132m facility to accommodate the nine new submarine-hunting Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) at RAF Lossiemouth.

UK Defence Secretary launches Poseidon aircraft facility
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson cuts the first turf on a £132m Poseidon aircraft facility at RAF Lossiemouth. Credit: Crown copyright.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched a £132m facility to accommodate the nine new submarine-hunting Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) at RAF Lossiemouth.

The latest fleet of MPAs are expected to be used to protect the British Royal Navy’s submarine-deployed nuclear deterrent, as well as its two new aircraft carriers.

MPA aircraft are also able to deploy missiles capable of destroying enemy submarines beneath the sea.

"This massive investment demonstrates the huge contribution Scotland makes to protecting Britain, and how defence generates prosperity and opportunity."

The new Poseidon fleet is slated to work alongside the Royal Navy’s eight new Type 26 frigates.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to invest £3bn in its MPA capability over the next decade.

In addition, the MoD previously confirmed an investment of £3.7bn last year in order to begin construction of the first three of the latest Type 26 frigates on the Clyde.

Williamson said: “These submarine hunters will play a vital role in keeping the UK safe from the increasing threats and aggression we face in the skies, on the sea and below the waves.

“This massive investment demonstrates the huge contribution Scotland makes to protecting Britain, and how defence generates prosperity and opportunity.”

The new RAF Lossiemouth facility is being developed by UK-based construction company Robertson Northern and is currently slated to be completed in 2020, which will coincide with the initial operating capability of the latest Poseidon aircraft.

The new facility is set to feature a tactical operations centre, an operational conversion unit and squadron accommodation areas.

It will also be equipped with training and simulation facilities, as well as a three-bay aircraft hangar.

The project is slated to support 200 local jobs during its peak construction period, while 470 additional staff will be employed at RAF Lossiemouth upon its completion.

A total of 2,200 personnel are expected to be employed at the facility once the Poseidon fleet is fully operational.