The fate of RAF Leuchars is once again uncertain. There is speculation that rather than being turned over to the army at the end of 2013 as previous announcements have suggested, it may be required to remain an RAF base.
An increase of squadrons at Leuchars may be one of the contributing factors. Instead of five Typhoon squadrons as originally planned, there may now be as many as seven.
An article published in the October edition of the military magazine Combat Aircraft said: “Having gone down to a five-squadron Typhoon plan, Coningsby and Leuchars/Lossiemouth offered a suitable solution. However, seven Typhoon squadrons may raise the need for a third Typhoon station. This could involve retaining Leuchars past 2013 or maybe even reactivating Leeming or Cottesmore as fighter stations.”
It had previously been thought that the RAF bases Leuchars or Lossiemouth would have to follow Kinloss in closing owing to Ministry of Defence spending cuts. The plan then developed to turn RAF Leuchars into an Army base.
The Ministry of Defence’s base review is ongoing and it is said that no decision would be announced until the end of this year. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence told The Courier: “No decision has yet been made. A footprint study is being carried out looking at all bases. It is our intention that an announcement will be made by the end of the year. Anything else at this stage is speculation.”
Arguments for keeping the RAF at Leuchars are “increasingly persuasive” according to North East Fife MP Sir Menzies Campbell, Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, who has stated that he “shall continue to make the case for Leuchars at every opportunity both in the House of Commons and outside.”