By the July 1 ,1956 the UK’s Air Defence Operations Centre provided 24-hour coverage as part of the then SACEUR’s integrated early warning plan. NATO allocated to the Royal Air Force a geographical area that covered the UK, much of the North Sea and then west out over the Atlantic.
Today the UK remains a leading member of NATO. In addition to maintaining its own national Quick Reaction Alert capability which remains integrated into the NATO Air Policing system, the Royal Air Force also regularly contributes to NATO Air Policing missions abroad for example in the Baltic States or Iceland. Currently RAF Typhoon fighters from IX (B) Squadron are deployed to Romania to conduct the NATO enhanced Air Policing mission alongside the Romanian Air Force in the Black Sea Region.
Reflecting on 60 years of Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duty executing the collective NATO Air Policing mission, the station commander at RAF Lossiemouth, one of two RAF stations in the UK that conduct QRA said: “QRA remains a core activity for the Royal Air Force, be that nationally based from here at RAF Lossiemouth, or deployed as IX (B) Squadron currently are in Romania."
“We are all very aware of the long tradition that the RAF has in conducting this air defence mission and are proud to follow in the footsteps of our predecessors," the station commander added. "And we continue to build on their legacy by conducting such operations as a leading NATO member of the Alliance,” he concluded.