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RAF Kinloss is a Royal Air Force station near Kinlossmarker, on the Moray Firth in the north of Scotlandmarker. The station is home to all of the Nimrod MR2 fleet in the Royal Air Force.

History

WW2

Nimrod groundcrew at Kinloss
Construction work began in the spring of 1938 to establish RAF Kinloss as a pilot training school. Land was requisitioned from local farms Easter Langcot, Muirton and Kinloss as well as Kinloss House and on 1 April 1939 with 14 Flying Training School (FTS) on camp and 45 Maintenance Unit soon to follow, RAF Kinloss opened.

In 1939, 14 FTS moved south and were replaced by 19 Operational Training Unit (OTU) training bomber crews for the offensive.

The station defences were gradually established and by May 1940, Group Captain Jarman reported that the defence of Kinloss was in order.

Throughout the majority of the war 19 Operational Training Unit was the primary training unit. Between July 1940 and June 1941 it flew over 22,073 hours almost four times the rate achieved by 14 FTS the previous year.

Cold War

Not long after VE Day 19 OTU was disbanded and the arrival of 6 Coastal OTU saw the beginning of Kinloss's association with maritime operations, an association that continues to this day.

The wartime Avro Lancaster was adapted without great upheaval for anti-submarine and search and rescue duties and RAF Kinloss changed from a Bomber training unit, to a Coastal Command base training maritime aircrew. Its personnel now also included National Servicemen.

19 (C)OTU was split into 236 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) and the School of Maritime Reconnaissance in 1947 with 236 remaining at Kinloss. A further change in 1956 saw the units recombine as the Maritime Operational Training Unit MOTU, which remained at Kinloss until 1965.

In July 1962, the Station received one of its highest honours, the Civic Freedom of the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Forresmarker, allowing Kinloss personnel the right to march through the Burgh with swords drawn. This was the first time any military unit had been so honoured by Forresmarker throughout the Burgh's 1400 year history.

During the Cold War Kinloss squadrons carried out anti-submarine duties, locating and shadowing Russian naval units.

In 1972 and 1976 the new Hawker Siddeley Nimrod proved its capabilities when it flew surveillance sorties over Iceland's disputed fishing limits, providing support for the Royal Navy and British trawlers in the Cod Wars.

In November 1980 two pilots RAAF Flight Lieutenant Anthony and Flying Officer Belcher were killed when their aircraft struck birds on take off and crashed in woods to the east of Kinloss airfield. The remainder of the crew survived.

After the Argentines invaded the Falkland Islandsmarker in 1982, Nimrod MR2's adapted for air to air refuelling, were deployed to Ascension Islandmarker in the South Atlantic.

Post Cold War

In 1992 Nimrod aircraft deployed to the Persian Gulf as an integral component of the coalition forces to recapture Kuwaitmarker. Furthermore Nimrods have been actively involved in the Adriaticmarker as part of the United Nations peace-keeping force. More recently in 2003, the Nimrod played a pivotal role in Op TELIC and it continues to do so today. The Station's high level of involvement is operational activities led to RAF Kinloss being awarded the coveted Stainforth trophy for the best operational performance in 2004.

In April 2005, 206 Sqn was disbanded as part of a Defence review the previous year, leaving the three squadrons 120, 201 and 42(R) who remain today.

On 2 September 2006, 12 Nimrod crew from 120 Squadron crew 3 and 2 observers were killed when their Nimrod, XV230, exploded over Afghanistan.

No 325 Expeditionary Air Wing was formed at the station on 1 April 2006. The wing encompasses most of the non-formed unit personnel on station. The EAW does not include the flying units at the station.

Present day

Numbers 120 and 201 squadrons, plus 42 squadron (the Operational Conversion Unit), equipped with the Nimrod MR2 are based at Kinloss.

The station is also home to No. 325 Expeditionary Air Wing. 663 VGS operating the Vigilant TMk1 and the Moray Flying Club are also based at RAF Kinloss.

The UK Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre is another major unit at Kinloss. The ARCC is responsible for coordinating all rescue efforts within the UK and out into the Atlanticmarker. This includes the receipt of signals from rescue beacons, and the dispatch and control of Nimrod aircraft and Search and Rescue helicopters.

The base was used for the 2004 Edinburgh and South Scotland Wing Air Cadet Annual Summer Camp

Operational units



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