Apaches to surround Moray air base

An Apache operating in Afghanistan.

Moray plane-spotters have a treat in store over the next week with the arrival of a squadron of Apache helicopters at RAF Lossiemouth.

The aircraft from 673 Squadron of 7(Training) Regiment Army Air Corps are in Moray for a week-long exercise, with their Apache ‘Longbow’ helicopters set to become a familiar sight as they will regularly train alongside the RAF’s Typhoon jets soon to be deployed to Lossiemouth.

This week’s ‘Exercise Panther’ is being used to prepare a new batch of flying instructors in operating over mountainous terrain, an essential skill for the helicopters when deployed to Afghanistan where they operate alongside the US Black Hawk aircraft on casualty evacuation missions as well as providing close-quarter air support to ground troops.

“This detachment of Apaches shows the versatility of the station and its ability to cater for a variety of aircraft,” an RAF Lossiemouth spokesman said, adding: “RAF Lossiemouth will see an increase in such exercises over the next few years to train alongside the Typhoon force.  The area means that aircraft can be used to their full operational capability.”

Meanwhile the base has announced the latest in its round of ‘enthusiast days’, when the doors are thrown open to a small group of aircraft enthusiasts for a close-up look at operations at RAF Lossiemouth.

Places can been applied for by email to [email protected] by no later than September 26, 2013.  The email should contain the applicants first name, surname, nationality, date of birth, full postal address and contact telephone number plus the details of vehicle make, model and registration number.

Applications without all of the information will not be accepted. Persons under the age of 16 can attend providing they are accompanied by an adult. On arrival adults will need to produce photographic ID prior to entry to RAF Lossiemouth.

Should the event be over subscribed a ballot will take place for places. Group applications will have their members treated as individuals if a ballot is required. Confirmation of places will be e-mailed to enthusiasts by October 3.