Unit History: RNAS Lossiemouth
RAF Lossiemouth (IATA: LMO, ICAO: EGQS) is a Royal Air Force station to the west of the town of Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland. It is one of the RAF’s biggest bases and currently Britain’s main base for Tornado GR4s.
It houses three operational Tornado GR4 squadrons, and the Tornado GR4 Operational Conversion Unit. The station is also home to No. 140 Expeditionary Air Wing. It is the RAF’s busiest fast jet base with 77 fast jets based there. Also, two Sea King helicopters are based there in a search and rescue role. Additionally, an extensive range of operational, logistic and administrative support functions are carried out.
Originally established as an RAF station, after the second world war the airfield was handed over to the Royal Navy and the station was renamed HMS Fulmar. The Royal Naval air station was returned to the Royal Air Force on 28 September 1972. As noted, the base is currently home to a number of Tornado squadrons including the famous 617 ’Dambuster’ Squadron. Coincidentally, 29 modified Lancaster bombers from No. 617 Squadron and No. 9 Squadron, left RAF Lossiemouth for Norway on 12 November 1944 to bomb the German battleship Tirpitz. Each of the aircraft was loaded with a single Tallboy bomb. The Tirpitz was located at a range of twenty miles and opened fire on the squadrons when the aircraft were thirteen miles away. One of the Lancasters was shot down. All of the remaining aircraft managed to get their bombs away – three of which hit their target. Within 10 minutes of the first hit, the Tirpitz had capsized.
No. 140 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) was formed at Lossiemouth on 1 April 2006 encompassing most of the non-formed unit personnel on station. The EAW does not include any of the flying squadrons. The station commander is dual-hatted as the commander of the wing.
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