TWO squadrons of the new maritime aircraft that will protect Trident and the UK’s new aircraft carriers will be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said yesterday.

Numbers 120 Squadron and 201 Squadron will fly the nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the first of which is due to arrive in 2020.

Moray’s SNP MSP, Richard Lochhead, said: “It’s good news all round. It’s a new chapter in Moray’s proud, long relationship with the RAF and playing a vital role in the nation’s defences.”

Poseidon will bring more than 400 additional service personnel to the base, where £400 million is being invested in support infrastructure.

The planes can carry torpedoes and anti-shipping missiles, and are designed to conduct anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Search and rescue and intelligence-gathering will also be part of their role.

Wing Commander James Hanson will oversee the formation of 120 Squadron from April 2018 while 201 Squadron will form in 2021.