THE STATION

RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, north-east Scotland is one of two RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) stations which protect UK airspace. In general terms, RAF Lossiemouth protects the UK's northern airspace, and RAF Coningsby protects the south.

Team Lossie is made up of four Typhoon combat aircraft squadrons, one Poseidon MRA1 squadron, and an RAF Regiment squadron. 

Aircraft and crews are maintained on high alert in order to scramble and intercept unidentified aircraft approaching UK airspace.

RAF Lossiemouth personnel and aircraft also support operations worldwide and host numerous national and international exercises.

To be watchful

The RAF Lossiemouth crest shows a Snowy Owl spreading its wings; the bird is native to Scotland, where the station is located, and has a highly keen eyesight alluding to the Airborne defence capabilities of the units based here.

The Snowy Owl carries two claymores argent hilted gules, a Scottish sword, which are crossed in saltire - further signifying the Scottish location of the Station.

Commander

Group Captain Jim Lee, ADC BEng (Hons) MA RAF

Group Captain Jim 'Rosie' Lee joined the Royal Air Force as a graduate entrant in 1998. After flying training, he began his frontline flying career on the Jaguar aircraft, joining No. 41 (Fighter) Squadron at RAF Coltishall in 2002. He then completed an exchange tour in the USA, spending three years flying the F16CJ aircraft with the 79th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. Returning to the UK in 2008, he was posted to the growing Typhoon Force, where he served on No. 3 (Fighter) Sqn at RAF Coningsby.

In early 2011, he was promoted to Squadron Leader and posted to HQ No. 1 Group as the operations staff officer on the Typhoon Role Desk. Three weeks after his appointment, the Typhoon Force was deployed as part of Operation ELLAMY in Libya and he was extensively involved with the generation and sustainment of the Force during its first overseas operation. From there, he was posted to RAF Leuchars as a flight commander on No. 6 Squadron and took a leading role in the move of Quick Reaction Alert (Interceptor) North from RAF Leuchars to RAF Lossiemouth in 2014.

Jim was promoted to Wing Commander in 2015 and subsequently completed the Advanced Command and Staff Course. In 2017, he assumed command of No. II (Army Cooperation) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, which included two deployments to Operation SHADER, one to Operation BILOXI, and the Exercise SAIF SAREEA 3. Following command, he was posted to the Pentagon as Assistant to Chief of Defence Staff’s Liaison Officer to the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In August 2021, he returned to the UK and took on the role of Director of the National Air & Space Operations Centre (NASOC) in HQ No. 11 Group. He took over as Station Commander at RAF Lossiemouth on 8 July 2022.

He is married to Meg (an American and criminal defence lawyer) and they have two daughters: Sienna and Alessia. His passion is football, both watching as an Everton fan and playing, although he is certainly in his twilight years for the latter. He remains committed to improving society as a whole, and is a keen supporter of the Jon Egging Trust and charitable endeavours of the April Fools’ Club. When his energetic daughters permit him any spare time, he enjoys skiing, a round of golf and spending quality social time with family & friends.

Who's based here

KEY DATES

  • From 1939: Station opened as a RAF training base with 15 Flying Training School as the first unit.
  • 1939-1945: Home to a number of units operating in Anti-Shipping roles, including IX(B) Squadron and 617 Squadron who launched the famous raid against Tirpitz.
  • From 1946: Became HMS Fulmar (Royal Naval Air Station Lossiemouth) as part of the Fleet Air Arm.
  • 1967-1970: Commanded by the famous Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown, the most decorated pilot in the history of the Royal Navy, who still holds many world records to this day.
  • From 1972: Reverted to RAF control, becoming RAF Lossiemouth once again. Search and Rescue helicopters from 202 Squadron, along with Jaguars from 226 Squadron begin operating from the Station. They are soon joined by Shackleton AEW aircraft from 8 Squadron.
  • From 1978: 48 Squadron RAF Regiment move to RAF Lossiemouth, equipped with the Rapier surface-to-air missile system.
  • From 1979: 2622 (Highland) Royal Air Force Auxiliary Regiment form at RAF Lossiemouth, providing a dedicated ground defence capability.
  • From 1980: 12 Squadron move north from RAF Honington, where they operate the Buccaneer from RAF Lossiemouth. They are joined in 1983 by 208 Squadron.
  • From 1991: All three Buccaneer squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth are involved in Operation Granby in the First Gulf War. 
  • From 1993: 12 Squadron begins operating the Tornado GR1B from RAF Lossiemouth.
  • From 1999: 15(R) Squadron begins operating from RAF Lossiemouth as the Tornado GR4 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU).
  • From 2001: 51 Squadron RAF Regiment is re-established, joining 2622 (Highland) RAuxAF Squadron, under 5 Force Protection Wing Headquarters.
  • From 2011: It was announced that QRA(I)N would move from RAF Leuchars to RAF Lossiemouth.
  • From 2014: QRA(I)N permanently moved to RAF Lossiemouth, with 6 Squadron moving in June 2014, 1(F) Squadron moving in September 2014, and II(AC) Squadron moving in January 2015.
  • From 2015: RAF Lossiemouth Mountain Rescue Team moves from Kinloss to Lossiemouth.
  • From 2019: IX(B) Squadron was formally re-roled from Tornado at RAF Marham to Typhoon at RAF Lossiemouth.
  • From 2020: Our runway resurfacing programme began, and as a result  the first Poseidon MRA1 touched down on UK soil at Kinloss Barracks in February, closely followed by the second in March. October saw ZP801, 802, and 803 arrive at RAF Lossiemouth for the first time, where they have operated from since.
  • From 2021: The runway resurfacing programme is expected to be completed in the middle of 2021, with more of the Poseidon fleet arriving. 201 Squadron will be stood up, marking another milestone in the programme.

HISTORY

RAF Lossiemouth opened in May 1939, with the first flying unit being 15 Flying Training Squadron. The first Station Commander was Group Captain P E Maitland MVO AFC RAF.

Following the outbreak of World War Two and the increase in tempo, 20 Operational Training Unit became the major unit on base, utilising satellite airfields at Bogs O’Mayne, Milltown and Brackla. 

RAF Lossiemouth became a staging location for Anti-Shipping missions, including the famous raid against the German u-boat Tirpitz, involving IX (Bomber) and 617 Squadrons.

In 1946 the Fleet Air Arm took over Lossiemouth and Milltown (HMS Fulmar, or Royal Naval Air Station Lossiemouth). It was during this time that the Station was commanded by Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown, a man who still holds many aviation world records to this day.

With the Defence Review of 1966 the Navy lost its aircraft carriers and in 1972 handed back the Station to the RAF.

Since the early 1970s the RAF used the Buccaneer, Shackleton, Jaguar and Tornado aircraft, both in training roles and operationally at Lossiemouth.

The Station has been involved in many modern conflicts, including both Gulf conflicts and Afghanistan. In addition, the RAF Regiment is deployed regularly from Lossiemouth.

Between June 2011 and March 2014 14 Squadron, 12 (Bomber) Squadron and 617 Squadron ‘The Dambusters’ were disbanded. The Tornado era ended at RAF Lossiemouth in March 2017 when XV (Reserve) Squadron disbanded.

In 2013/14, 1 (Fighter) Squadron and 6 Squadron relocated to Moray from RAF Leuchars as the Station prepared to become a Typhoon main operating base.

II (Army Co-operation) Squadron ‘stood-up’ and relocated to RAF Lossiemouth in January 2015. D Flight, 202 Squadron, Search And Rescue disbanded in April 2015.  The Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 announced the future basing of P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth.

From September 2014 RAF Lossiemouth’s primary role has been the provision of Quick Reaction Alert (Interceptor) North. QRA maintains aircraft and crews on high alert in order to scramble and intercept unidentified aircraft approaching UK airspace. This is a duty that has been maintained by the RAF on a 24/7 basis for decades.

In 2019, IX (Bomber) Squadron was re-roled from flying Tornado at RAF Marham, to Typhoon at RAF Lossiemouth. This meant RAF Lossiemouth was home to four front-line Typhoon Squadrons. 

With the formation of CXX Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, the Station took delivery of two of its nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The Pride of Moray (ZP801) and the City of Elgin (ZP802) touched down at Kinloss Barracks in February and March of 2020 respectively. ZP802 made its debut at RAF Lossiemouth in October 2020, closely followed by ZP801 and ZP803. 

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