Scottish Daily Mail

Thanks, Mr Putin!

10,000 new jobs and £400m investment at RAF base – to help counter Russian planes probing UK airspace

- By Abbi Garton

A SCOTS RAF base is set to welcome hundreds more personnel and millions of pounds of new investment.

RAF Lossiemout­h in Moray is one of the UK’s busiest stations and is set for significan­t expansion – creating up to 10,000 jobs in the wider Scottish economy.

The move comes as fighter jets from the base have increasing­ly scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft, with the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, keen to show off the nation’s military might.

Jets were called into action last month, when two Russian long-range bombers approached UK airspace.

Aircraft were previously dispatched from RAF Lossiemout­h after Russian jets entered UK airspace in May 2017.

And in February last year, nuclear-capable Blackjack bombers flew perilously close to UK airspace, forcing RAF jets to be scrambled to escort the aircraft away.

Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson, Scotland’s most senior RAF officer, said more than 400 extra staff would be heading to Lossiemout­h in the next few years. The base is set to house the RAF’s newest aircraft – the P8Poseidon Maritime Patrol craft – when they arrive in 2019, and £400million has been allocated to Lossiemout­h to help with the expansion. There are already 2,000 workers stationed at the base. The new fleet is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare and intelligen­ce, surveillan­ce and reconnaiss­ance missions.

Speaking to the Forces Network website, Air Vice-Marshal Paterson said: ‘The first aircraft will come in 2019. Ahead of that, there is a huge amount of work to be done and that’s hugely significan­t.

‘There’s a lot of work to do but over 400 people in time coming up to Lossie and £400million being spent there. And this is in a context of defence spending of about £1.5billion each year, with defencerel­ated expenditur­e creating 10,000 Scottish jobs.

‘Lossiemout­h is a huge main operating base. We’re looking at about 2,000 people there now and that’s going to grow.’

Meanwhile, the UK’s Northernmo­st radar station, RAF Saxa Vord, will reopen in the Shetland Islands after 12 years.

Air Vice-Marshal Paterson said: ‘We are reopening the radar hub there as part of our defence of UK air space, where we mount a quick reaction alert.’

 ??  ?? Watching: A Typhoon from Lossiemout­h escorts a giant Russian Bear in 2014
Watching: A Typhoon from Lossiemout­h escorts a giant Russian Bear in 2014

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