Royal Air Force name new £100million state-of-the-art ‘Atlantic Building’ vital for UK defence

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RAF Lossiemouth celebrated two major events today with a new Standard being presented to CXX Squadron and the formal naming of the £100million Poseidon Strategic Facility as the Atlantic Building.

With the impressive Atlantic Building as a backdrop and flanked either side by two sub-hunting Poseidon aircraft, sixty personnel from CXX Squadron formally paraded for the first time since re-forming in 2020. The parade opened with a flypast of a Poseidon aircraft supported by a pair of Typhoon aircraft from II(AC) Squadron.

Accompanied by the RAF Lossiemouth Pipes and Drum Band and in the presence of families and distinguished guests including local dignitaries and civic leadership, Air Marshal Gerry Mayhew, Deputy Commander Operations, took the formal salute and inspected the parade. The Chaplain-in-Chief and Archdeacon for the Royal Air Force, the Venerable Air Vice Marshall John Ellis QHC RAF officiated at a Drumhead ceremony to consecrate the new Standard. The day also signalled a new era for CXX Squadron with Wing Commander James Hanson handing over command to Wg Cdr Benjamin Livesey.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said:

“The state-of-the-art ‘Atlantic Building’ enables our Poseidon fleet to perform their vital role for UK defence. The building’s name reflects the heritage of CXX Squadron and the importance of the aircraft’s mission to protect our maritime interests.

“This fantastic facility is a key part of Defence’s £360m investment in RAF Lossiemouth, which has created and supported hundreds of jobs in Moray.”

The Parade of 120 Squadron marches off the Parade Square at RAF Lossiemouth after completing the parade.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:

“This crucial facility serves as an important reminder as to why RAF Lossiemouth is one of the most key military air stations in western Europe. The fleet of Poseidon submarine hunting aircraft based here are vital to maintaining the security of the UK and our NATO allies by providing constant vigilance to threats on and under the sea and protecting the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

“The Atlantic Building – part of a £360m investment in the air base, creating and supporting hundreds of jobs locally – demonstrates powerfully how important defence is to Scotland and how important Scotland is to the defence of the UK and NATO.”

Wg Cdr James Hanson, the outgoing CXX Sqn Officer Commanding said:

“The heart of CXX Squadron is its people and as I look back at 3 years in command, the highest privilege has been to have led the most talented, motivated and exceptional people any commander could have hoped for. They have overcome every challenge imaginable – and some we couldn’t have imagined – to rebuild the Squadron to once again become the successful warfighting unit it is today, regularly delivering on live operations in a way that our predecessors who stood under the CXX Squadron standard would be proud of.”

Incoming 120 Squadron OC, Wg Cdr Benjamin Livesey said:

“Maritime patrol is of vital importance to the United Kingdom, and the contribution provided by those at RAF Lossiemouth is paramount to its success. I am privileged to take command of 120 Sqn at an exciting time in its history, as we continue to build in capability.”

The Atlantic Ocean was, and remains, of vital strategic importance to the United Kingdom. During WWII the UK required more than a million tons of shipping to be delivered per week to survive which was jeopardised by the devastating losses inflicted on Allied shipping convoys by enemy submarines. CXX Squadron re-formed as a Maritime Patrol Squadron and deployed to Iceland in 1941 where they served with distinction and courage in the Battle of the Atlantic rapidly becoming the most successful antisubmarine warfare squadron in history.

Today the situation is different, but the Atlantic Ocean remains as important to the UK and to the mission of the Royal Air Force as ever. Undersea cables provide internet links to the Americas, transmitting trillions of pounds of financial transactions which if disrupted could cripple the economy.

RAF Lossiemouth’s sub-hunting P8s provide constant vigilance to threats above and below the waves and protect the UKs nuclear deterrent. This is the frontline of UK defence delivered every day from RAF Lossiemouth’s strategic location and the building name reflects the heritage of the Squadron and the importance of the mission currently being undertaken.

Photo: SAC Sian Stephens

UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

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