RAF Lossiemouth control tower could be a 'world first'

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Typhoon jetImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Typhoon jets are flown from RAF Lossiemouth

An RAF base in Scotland could be set to have the "world's first" military digital air traffic control capability.

Defence contractor Saab UK Ltd is building an experimental digital control tower at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray.

The technology would be similar to that used for some civilian airports, such as London City where air traffic is controlled from a centre 80 miles away.

Lossiemouth currently has a traditional staffed control tower.

The station's demonstration project could lead to the tower, one of the oldest buildings on the site, being replaced.

Under the plan for digital capability, air traffic controllers would remain at RAF Lossiemouth but they would have access to a series of wide and zoom lens cameras.

The cameras would give the controllers a 360 degree view of the airfield, allowing them to monitor the whole airfield through a series of communication links.

The demonstration project could be working later this year. The first phase of its construction is due to start in April.

It forms part of a wider revamp of facilities at RAF Lossiemouth.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, pictured right, are to be based at Lossiemouth

The UK's most northerly air station is to be the base for a new fleet of nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

The first of the Poseidons arrived at Kinloss Barracks, a former RAF station in Moray, last month.

Typhoon jets at Lossiemouth are also used in a Quick Reaction Alert role with crews "shadowing" Russian military aircraft as they passed close to UK airspace.

A spokesman for the RAF said digital tower project was in the "very early stages".

He said: "This sort of digital technology has only been implemented at civilian airfields.

"If built at RAF Lossiemouth, this would be the first military airfield with a digital air traffic control capability."