Providing front-line protection

1 Squadron will complete its move to Lossiemouth by the end of the month.
1 Squadron will complete its move to Lossiemouth by the end of the month.

In what is expected to be a quiet, low-key end to almost a century of aviation history, most aircraft from 1 (Fighter) Squadron at RAF Leuchars will leave on Monday.

The squadron is due to complete its move north to Lossiemouth by the end of the month and, according to an RAF spokeperson, there are no plans to publicly mark the occasion.

The move will also signal the end of Fife’s role as the Scottishbase for the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) which has provided crews and aircraft at a high states of readiness 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, policing UK airspace and intercepting unidentified aircraft.

However, it’s unlikely aviation enthusiasts and the wider RAF family in Leuchars will let the squadron go without some kind of farewell.

When 6 Squadron left in June the Typhoons delighted onlookers with a six formation before it headed north.

And in May the RAF paid a tribute to St Andrews when 250 servicemen and woman from both Typhoon squadrons took part in a parade through the streets carrying the Freedom Scroll.

The event also marked the homecoming of 58 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Regiment, which had recently returned from protecting Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. The squadronwas then disbanded.

The Freedom Parade also saw a special flypast by a Typhoon above South Street where crowds had gathered.

Commenting ahead of Monday’s departure Air Officer Scotland and Station Commander RAF Leuchars, Air Commodore Gerry Mayhew said: “The personnel and Typhoon aircraft of 1(Fighter) Squadron have begun their relocation to RAF Lossiemouth as scheduled.

“Since re-forming at RAF Leuchars in 2012, 1(F) has delivered exemplary air power capability in defence of the United Kingdom; providing round-the-clock protection of our airspace whilst making vital contributions to operations abroad.

“The relocation of this frontline squadron has been no small task and its achievement is thanks to the commitment and outstanding efforts of all military and civilian personnel involved.

He added: “As the Typhoons relocate, it is fitting for us to celebrate over 100 years of outstanding military aviation history at RAF Leuchars.

“Throughout the RAF’s time at the base, our people – both Service and civilian - and their families have received outstanding support from the local community.”

The Station Commander, whom, it is throught, may have the honour of flying the last jet off the base, added: “Leuchars has a long term secure future as an Army base.

“The Army and RAF have been working closely with Fife Council to deliver the most effective transition possible, and I am sure the people of Fife will extend a warm welcome to the Army when they arrive from Germany.”

Aviation enthusiasts eager to buy a slice of Leuchars’ RAF history are continuing to show interest in buying the fighter jet ‘Black Mike’.

The FG1 Phantom, which along with it fellow ‘gate guardian - a Lightening F3 Fighter - is being sold off by the MoD. Neither plane has an engine and the RAF has kept one type of each aircraft - as well as another Phantom - for posterity.

The closure of Leuchars as an RAF base is the result of a basing review conducted by the Westminster Government