MoD 'thinking the unthinkable' about future of RAF bases in Scotland

According to the Press and Journal (05 Jul 2010), the SNP vowed last night to fight “tooth and nail” against plans to slash defence spending in Scotland, a move which the newspaper said could force the closure of at least one Moray air base - RAF Lossiemouth is claimed to be in the frame - and several other military sites such as the infantry barracks at Fort George, testing sites in the Uists and the Sound of Raasay, and RM Condor near Arbroath:

[Scottish National] Party defence spokesman Angus Robertson spoke out following renewed speculation that RAF Lossiemouth could be axed, with the potential loss of up to 3,000 jobs.

He said the suggested cuts would diminish the armed forces’ capabilities and harm communities.

The Fort George Army barracks near Inverness, sites in Skye and Benbecula and the Royal Marines base at Condor, in Angus, are also believed to be under scrutiny as ministers try to find £36billion of cuts. And yesterday, reports raised serious doubts over at least one of the two new aircraft carriers due to be constructed in Fife and on the Clyde at a cost of £5billion, with the potential loss of as many as 15,000 shipyard jobs.

One Whitehall source said the Ministry of Defence was “thinking the unthinkable” and considering reducing the number of RAF bases in Scotland.

Doubts also surround the fate of RAF Kinloss, but the imminent arrival of nine MRA4 surveillance planes means its long-term future looks more secure.

Lossiemouth’s Tornado fighter-bombers are due to be phased out and replaced with new stealth fighter-bombers – but not for at least another decade.

RAF Leuchars, in Fife, is already being converted from its role as the base for Tornado interceptors to new Typhoon Euro-fighters, giving it a stronger case. ...

 

Royal Air Force, Scotland

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