Defence Minister Visits Last Airbase

The Defence Secretary Liam Fox is due to visit staff and campaigners at RAF Lossiemouth after saving it from being closed down.

RAF Lossiemouth will become Scotland's last remaining air base following the decision to close the RAF base at Leuchars in Fife to make way for a new Army headquarters.

During his visit, Dr Fox will meet staff who work at the station in Moray, as well as campaigners who fought to keep it open.

As well as speaking to airmen and women employed at the base, he will also talk to members of the Moray Task Force.

The campaign group was established to fight base closures and press for an early decision on the future of RAF Kinloss.

Under the plans, announced yesterday, the size of the Army in Scotland will increase from about 3,500 to 8,500 - a decision welcomed by the SNP administration in Edinburgh.

The shake-up is part of wide-ranging changes to the British defence estate.

One of five multi-role brigades (MRBs) will be centred on Kirknewton, south west of Edinburgh.

Two major units and a formation HQ will be based at Leuchars, with the number of posts expected to rise from 1,200 to more than 1,300.

The UK government expects to move the HQ there "no later'' than 2014, with the major units following in the period 2015-17.

But the Typhoon force that was to have been built up at Leuchars will be shifted to RAF Lossiemouth.

Army units will move to Kinloss in Moray, which had its fate sealed as an air base in the strategic defence review last year, by about 2014-15.

He also announced a plan to move the Royal Marines out of Arbroath around 2015-16, with a unit from Germany moving in shortly afterwards.