RAF Lossiemouth remains at the forefront of the UK’s defence forces, 10 years on from being saved after a massive public campaign.
Its pilots complete a number of high-stakes aerial missions.
Those missions vary from the Quick Reaction Alert service which defends UK airspace from intruders to the P-8 Poseidon spy planes tracking Russian submarines.
However, things could have been very different if it wasn’t for the public campaign which saved the base in 2011.
Around 7,000 people marched through the town to oppose the closure, while a petition with 33,000 signatures was delivered to Downing Street.
RAF Lossiemouth saved
Ten years ago, Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced that RAF Lossiemouth was to become the main UK Typhoon fighter base.
While RAF Leuchars in Fife shut as an air base.
The move also paved the way to revamp RAF Kinloss into an army barracks.
Campaigners celebrated the news after previous fears that closure of the base would be “catastrophic” for the economy.
Since then, millions of pounds of investment has been made at the station including the runway transformation project for the arrival of Poseidon jets.
A decade on, station commander Chris Layden paid tribute to the community who saved the base.
Mr Layden said: “I think it is really important to remember in 2010 when around 7,000 people in Moray marched to save RAF Lossiemouth when its future was in doubt.
“RAF Lossiemouth is part of the lifeblood of Moray and the economic consequences for our community would have been dire.
He added: “The relationship between RAF Lossiemouth and the community is really special.
“I think when you cast your mind back in 2010 when there were real concerns over the economic factor of losing RAF Lossiemouth.
“Also people we know and love in the community losing their livelihoods.
“Things couldn’t be more different now with close to half a billion investment in this base in a period of a few years.”
Mr Layden is bursting with pride about his role to lead the base.
He said: “I’m immensely proud and privileged to be in the role at a place rapidly becoming the biggest concentration of airpower in the UK and next-generation capabilities.
“On a really personal level, my parents live about three miles away.
“Some of my earliest memories are going to watch the aircraft take off from RAF Lossiemouth and it’s one of the reasons I joined the service.
“RAF Lossiemouth has been part of my childhood and professional career.”
‘Without the community, we wouldn’t have an RAF base’
Save RAF Lossiemouth Action Group chairman David Stewart hailed the outpouring of support for keeping the base open.
Mr Stewart said: “Looking back you couldn’t have wished for better.
“The investment at the base has been great.
“Without the community, we wouldn’t have an RAF base.
“Every one of them played a part and should look back with pride.
“Looking at the housing market in Lossiemouth there is hardly a house for sale.
“Around 10 years ago, there was doom over the town and nothing was moving.”
‘People power’ saved RAF Lossiemouth
Lossiemouth Community Council chairwoman Carolle Ralph said: “It was the case that people power won the case.
“There were many people who said they didn’t know why we thought anything could stop a government decision.
“It would have been easy for people not to fight this.
“It is great to see the expansion and investment at the base.
Momentous time in Moray’s history
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “The 10th anniversary of the campaign that saved RAF Lossiemouth provides an opportunity for the community to reflect on what was a momentous time in Moray’s history.
“The loss of both bases would have been catastrophic for Moray but also the wrong decision in terms of defence policy.”