Photographic Section - Page Fourteen
The Leuchars Air Base Closure
In times of economic stringency at the start of the twenty-first century, it was inevitable that some unpalatable government decisions would need to be taken on the financial front. The closure of the Leuchars Air Base in Fife was just one of them. Before then, the air base was home to the 65th and final 'Battle of Britain' airshow in 2013 amid dark clouds and adverse weather. Despite this, it was a good day worthy of several photogaphic reminders. I've included a few of the best ones on this page.
The remaining air base in Morayshire will have to cover huge distances reaching far North beyond to the Artic Circle yet still able to survey all of the Scottish mainland, Isles and Northern England in the South. It's a task inceasingly assigned to imported EC3 Hawkeye aircraft in place of decommisioned and destroyed Nimrod aircraft as part of the government financial revue. Whilst use of the armed interceptor role is minimised yet still maintained when necessary, the time when Leuchars air base contributed a major part of that defensive strategy is over.
The Bear Is Back!
On this page, I've added a few pictures that I've had for some time but as I clean up my hard drive during the festive season at the end of 2014, I found it hard to dump these pictures as one, in particular, serves as a constant reminder that the 'cat and mouse' game of aerial espionage played by Russia has never completely disappeared despite cessation of 'Cold War' hostilities in the early 1990s and when the USSR ceased to exist.
The photograph is that of a Russian 'Bear' Tu-95 aircraft photographed North of Shetland in the early months of 2013 by Typhoon aircraft of 6th Squadron scrambled from RAF Leuchars. Eight similar approaches by these aircraft were made during 2013 but none amounted to incursion into UK air space according to an MOD spokesperson. Note the contra-rotating propellers!
The second photograph might have been called 'Old meets New' since it shows a modern BAe Typhoon aircraft in the foreground and a Saab J35 Draken turning together away from the camera. The Saab J35 Draken was manufactured by the Swedish company between 1955 and 1974 with service within the Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Austrian air forces. The last of these was retired from the Austrian air force in 2005. Whilst the name suggests association with 'Dragon', the actual translation means 'kite' but the distinctive silhouette and wing shape is hard to forget. The last photograph on this page makes that distinction much clearer.