RAF Leuchars

RAF Leuchars

Infobox Airport
name = RAF Leuchars

image-width = 142
caption = Station Crest of RAF Leuchars
type = Military
operator = Royal Air Force
location = Leuchars, Fife, Scotland
elevation-f = 38
elevation-m = 12
coordinates = Coord|56|22|23|N|002|52|07|W|type:airport
website = [http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafleuchars/ www.raf.mod.uk/rafleuchars/]
r1-number = 04/22
r1-length-f = 4,803
r1-length-m = 1,464
r1-surface = Asphalt
r2-number = 09/27
r2-length-f = 8,491
r2-length-m = 2,588
r2-surface = Asphalt

RAF Leuchars Airport codes|ADX|EGQL is the most northerly air defence station in the United Kingdom. It is located in Leuchars, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, near to the university town of St Andrews.


RAF Leuchars is commanded by an Air Commodore instead of a Group Captain who would usually be given command of a base. This is because the base commander here also undertakes the role of Air Officer Scotland. The present base commander is Air Commodore Clive Bairsto who takes over from Air Commodore Julian Stinton.

Leuchars is currently home to two squadrons of Panavia Tornado F3s. They are No. 111 Squadron and No. 43 Squadron. Both squadrons operate Quick Reaction Alert which was set up primarily to combat threats from Russian attacks during the Cold War.

The station is also home to No. 125 Expeditionary Air Wing and the East of Scotland Universities Air Squadron (ESUAS) and XII Air Experience Flight (12 AEF) who both use a fleet of seven Tutor T1s.

Leuchars is also the base for No. 612 (County of Aberdeen) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force (an air-transportable surgical squadron), an RAF Mountain Rescue Unit, and is the airfield of use for the local Air Training Corps units.

The other operational UK air defence bases are RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire which is also equipped with F3s and since June 2007 RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire which operates the Eurofighter Typhoon F2.

No 125 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) was formed at Leuchars on 1 April 2006. The wing encompasses most of the non-formed unit personnel and does "not" include the flying units based at the station. The station commander is dual-hatted as the commander of the wing.

In 2007, an extension of the runway which, as of 2006, is currently 3,500 metres (11,000 ft) long, will take place due to the arrival of the Typhoon. Because of the runway extension, the three main squadrons are to be re-sited for the duration of the work. 43(F) SQN will operate from RAF Leeming and RAF Akrotiri over this period. ESUAS and 12 AEF will operate from Fife Airport, Glenrothes.

Current structure

A third F3 Squadron, No. 56 (Reserve) Squadron, was disbanded in April 2008 in preparation for the arrival of the Typhoon, in 2010. Members of 56 squadron have temporarily joined 43 squadron until a 3 squadron arrangement is reinstated with the arrival of the Typhoon. The RAF Leuchars structure as of May 2008 is as follows: [Air Forces Monthly, April 2008 issue, pp. 44]

*125 Expeditionary Air Wing
*Air Combat 1 Group
**43 Fighter Squadron - operating Tornado F3
**111 Fighter Squadron - operating Tornado F3


What would become RAF Leuchars was started during the First World War as a base for training pilots and crew. In 1920 it was officially named. By the start of the Second World War, it was under the control of RAF Coastal Command.

Annual Airshow

RAF Leuchars is home to the annual Leuchars Airshow. This usually takes place on a Saturday in September. The 2007 Leuchars Airshow was cancelled due to resurfacing of the runway. [http://www.airshow.co.uk/]

Approximately 45,000 people attended the 2006 show to see displays including the Red Arrows, Eurofighter Typoon, and Battle of Britain memorial flight. Air forces from many NATO countries provide additional static and flight displays. [cite news| url=http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2006/09/11/newsstory8744728t0.asp| publisher=DC Thomson|title=Airshow 2006.|date=11 September 2006]

ee also

*List of RAF stations
*HMS Fieldfare


External links

* [http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafleuchars/ RAF Leuchars homepage]
* [http://www.airshow.co.uk Airshow site.]
* [http://www.musicpro.co.uk/sites/aviation/leuchars2008/pages/leuchars2008_index.html 360 Degree Panoramic Images of RAF Leuchars]
* [http://www.aircraftinaction.co.uk/2006/Leuchars.htm Review of Leuchars Airshow 2006]
* [http://www.aircraftinaction.co.uk/2005/Leuchars.htm Review of Leuchars Airshow 2005]

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