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NATO aircraft fly into Moray

By SPP Reporter

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An Orion aircraft over a NATO warship
An Orion aircraft over a NATO warship

RAF Lossiemouth is preparing to host aircraft for the tri-service NATO exercise Joint Warrior.

The operation will take place from Monday, April 13 until Friday 24.

Joint Warrior will involve more than 22 warships and submarines, 52 fixed wing aircraft and around 3,500 personnel from Canada, Germany, French and the USA.

Maritime patrol aircraft along with search and rescue helicopters will be based at Lossiemouth for the exercise including the P-8 Poseidon, P3 Orion and Atlantique as well as Pavehawk helicopters.

Typhoons from the Moray air station will also take part.

Flight Lieutenant Heidi Billany, operations officer at the military base, said: "The hosting of these exercise participants will involve every section at RAF Lossiemouth.

"In order to facilitate each visiting units’ individual requirements for the exercise, planning has been ongoing since October last year to ensure that we are ready.

"It will be an extremely busy fortnight for the station and the airfield itself.

"Particular challenges will involve working with different coalition countries, operating large aircraft from an airfield which is set up for much smaller, fast jets and fitting it all around RAF Lossiemouth’s own ongoing high operational tempo and essential training."

Aircraft and personnel from participating countries are beginning to arrive, with crews staying in local hotels for the duration of the exercise.

Usually RAF Lossiemouth operates its flying programme from 8am until 11pm, however during Joint Warrior some night flying may take place.

There are also likely to be some departures and recoveries during the weekend, although these should be single aircraft movements during daylight hours.

Engineers will service aircraft as they land and prior to departures, which may take place between 11pm and 8am.

Steps will be taken to minimise associated noise.

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