Hundreds witness ‘Pride of Moray’ landing at Kinloss

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The Poseidon crew and VIPs. Picture: Sgt Ashley Keates RAF, UK Ministry of Defence 2020

Hundreds of people stood at the end of the runway at Kinloss Barracks today (Tuesday 4 February) to witness the historic moment the first Poseidon P-8A landed in Moray.

The maritime patrol aircraft is the first of nine coming to the area from the USA to be stationed at RAF Lossiemouth, where new facilities are being built to accommodate them.

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Two Royal Air Force Typhoon aircraft from II(AC) Squadron escort the Poseidon over Kinloss. Pic: Sgt Ashley Keates RAF, UK Ministry of Defence 2020

The first plane has been named The Pride of Moray and marks a decade-long gap since Nimrod patrol aircraft operated from RAF Kinloss, before the Army moved in.

Moray MP Douglas Ross has attended the ceremony and said: “It was a real privilege to be at the official welcoming ceremony to witness the state-of-the-art Poseidon aircraft touch down in Moray.

Massive boost for Moray

“The arrival of the P8s represents a key milestone in the massive investment programme by the UK government in Moray and Scotland with £400 million invested at RAF Lossiemouth and an overall investment of £3 billion worth of aircraft, providing ultra-sophisticated systems which will patrol and protect our shores around the UK as well as taking part in international and NATO operations.

“This is a massive boost to Moray, bringing jobs and investment to the area, as well as an influx of more than 500 personnel supporting the P8 squadrons who will be living and working here.

“We welcome the P8s to Moray, and look forward to seeing the aircraft in the skies above our communities knowing the vital role Moray and Scotland is playing in the defence of the United Kingdom.”

The aircraft is the first of a new £3 billion programme, including the purchase of nine state-of-the-art Poseidon jets, which will improve the UK’s ability to track hostile targets below and above the waves.

Poseidon aircraft will protect the UK’s continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent and be central to NATO missions across the North Atlantic, co-operating closely with the US and Norwegian Poseidon fleets.

The UK’s purchase of the Poseidon is in response to increased threats such as Russian submarine activity in the Atlantic returning to Cold War levels, while China is also investing heavily in new Arctic facilities, infrastructure and ice-capable ships.