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Old 26th Jan 2010, 23:52
  #49 (permalink)  
Ivan Rogov
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Europe
Posts: 414
Waddington got very quiet for a few years in the 80's. For those who have written Kinloss off already, here are a few points to consider:

- It is available 24/7/365 and it benefits from excellent flying weather, loosing far less days than bases further south.

- It hosts 4 major exercises a year, 2 x TLT (mostly fast jets and some helos, AT, AAR, AEW, ISR etc.), 2 X Joint Warrior (lots of MPA plus TLT type visitors). It is ideally located for this due to the ranges, airspace and proximity of Naval and Land units. It also hosts plenty of Tutor, Tucano and C130 dets.

- It benefits from being co-located with Lossiemouth, able to share ATC facilities, sections (Regt and Med sections have been particularly helpful), equipment, supplies, personnel, clubs/organisations, quarters, etc. This provides large financial, operational advantages and convenience over isolated Stations.

- It is home to the ARCC and MRT. A few years ago rumour was that 202 Sqn were coming over and getting a new building, allegedly Lossie Stn Cdr wanted to keep them as he didn't want the base to loose such a high profile role. From what I remember Tornado was also supposed to be moving from Lossie in 2015ish to allow JSF in.

- It has a low surrounding population (less complaints, less compensation claims, less prying eyes/lenses and less risk should the worst happen), very quiet airspace and a vast array of training environments for most A/C types.

- It is ideally situated for any Ops task in/or to the north of the UK, QRA, ASW, ASUW, SAR etc.

Operating our MPA from Waddington isn't as great an idea as it sounds, busy airspace, lost flying days from weather, not near a convenient low level training area with a radar buoy (the North Sea off Lincs is quite busy already too!), 400 miles south of the ideal strategic position to base your MPA for ASW Ops and if anyone hasn't noticed they can't cope with all the personnel in the area already, another 1000 plus families would destroy the infrastructure.
I always thought it would have made financial and operating sense to move 51 Sqn up and co locate Nimrod types, but as most on it see it as an escape from Kinloss I guess it was always strongly resisted, and now it's academic!
I would have thought the location, quiet airspace, low circuit traffic, departure/approach over the sea, access to ranges and danger areas would make it ideal for UAV training too, but again many on those units are terrified of Kinloss too .
The previous basing report did highlighted the bird risk for single engine operations, however as TLT/JW successfully operate GR9, Hawk, Etendard, etc. and other Scottish bases have now a bird issue too, so that isn't really valid anymore.

Post Cold War, I thought the RAF plan was to try and group bases together (for logistical reasons, allowing personnel to remain in one area for longer and provide stability for their families: etc. Arenít the Army doing this too and donít the RN have TopMast?) and it had decided that hardened buildings are not needed (due to no perceived direct threat, expeditionary Ops, expense and inefficiency). Has this changed?

We don't have enough airfields left to allow politicians to use them for their own gains, our bosses need to fight to ensure they are in the right place for the right reasons.
Ivan Rogov is offline