Ready for Occupation Before Year-End
The future home for the UK’s POSEIDON MRA Mk1 fleet has been handed over to the MoD, marking a major milestone in the POSEIDON programme, the Ministry announced on 23 July.
At a cost of £100 million (€110 million), the 33,000m2 Poseidon Strategic Facility at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland includes a three-bay hangar and accommodation for two squadrons, as well as state-of-the-art training equipment and facilities for those working on the fleet of nine POSEIDON aircraft.
Designed and built by Boeing Defence UK and construction partner Robertson, the two-year project has now reached the point at which the facility can be handed over to Defence Equipment & Support, as representative for the MoD.
“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 state-of-the-art Lossiemouth facility provides the fleet with an ideal base, while helping to create and sustain jobs in Scotland,” commented Defence Minister Jeremy Quin.
Once operational later this year, the facility will be the workplace for 470 additional military and civilian personnel, taking the total number of people working out of the air base to about 2,200.
The first RAF POSEIDON – PRIDE of MORAY – arrived at RAF Kinloss in February, followed by CITY of ELGIN the following month. Both aircraft are currently flying from Kinloss until the Lossiemouth facility and runway are formally opened. The third aircraft, TERENCE BULLOCH, is currently undergoing mission equipment fit in Seattle.
“The strategic facility at RAF Lossiemouth is going to be an outstanding working environment optimised to support the RAF’s new POSEIDON maritime patrol aircraft [and] the home of our new capability where our crews, engineers, mission support staff and contractors will work together to deliver this essential Defence output [delivering] exactly what we need in time to meet the arrival of our new aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth in the autumn,” observed Air Cdre Richard Barrow.
In the coming months, DE&S will oversee the installation of computers, audio-visual technology and the IT network to ensure the facility meets the RAF’s requirements. Simulators and training devices for air and ground crews will be delivered and their installation will begin, while a separate ground support equipment (GSE) hangar will also be built by Robertson. All nine POSEIDON aircraft on order are expected to be in the UK by the end of 2021.