Future of RAF Leuchars secured for next 40 years
RAF Leuchars will continue as a front-line fighter base for the next 40 years, with millions of pounds set to be invested ahead of the arrival of the high-tech Eurofighter Typhoon in 2010.
However, it's reckoned that 200 service jobs will be cut at Leuchars when the new generation aircraft settles in.
The Typhoon only has room for one crew member ? the pilot ? so squadrons will be smaller and servicing will be carried out at RAF Coningsby, in Lincolnshire.
Despite that, the arrival of the Typhoon is being flagged up as a 'good news story', securing the base as a major employer and income generator in the area for so many years to come.
In addition to the £25 million-worth of runway work completed at Leuchars last year, a massive programme of improvements, costing £80-£100 million, is set to kick in over the next seven or eight years.
That will include a 'hush-house' for checking engines at full throttle without disturbing the neighbours.
Live-in accommodation for both singles and married couples at Leuchars is also due for an upgrade, and a new replacement flight training simulator will be installed.
Station Commander and Air Officer Scotland Clive Bairsto revealed that the Typhoon would fly out of RAF Leuchars until 2050.
The Tornado F3 will start to be replaced by the Typhoon in September 2010.
The Station Commander expects life should get quieter as the Typhoon replaces the Tornado F3.
Take-off for a Typhoon is mostly achieved without using 're-heat' (when fuel is injected directed into the engine to give extra power for take-off) which creates the noise.
North East Fife MP, Sir Menzies Campbell said: "It has become increasingly clear that, in deciding on the deployment of the Typhoon everything was on the table and Leuchars was not an automatic choice.
"The RAF presence in north east Fife makes an enormous contribution to the local economy and has very good links with the local community. I am delighted by this outcome."
source: Fife Herald, Friday, August 8, 2008