RAF Tain

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RAF Tain
Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg
Near Tain, Ross and Cromarty in Scotland
RAF Tain is located in Ross and Cromarty
RAF Tain
RAF Tain
Shown within Ross and Cromarty
Coordinates 57°48′40″N 003°58′24″W / 57.81111°N 3.97333°W / 57.81111; -3.97333Coordinates: 57°48′40″N 003°58′24″W / 57.81111°N 3.97333°W / 57.81111; -3.97333
Type Royal Air Force Air weapons range
Site information
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Royal Air Force
Site history
Built 1930 (1930)
In use 1930-1950 (1950)
Airfield information
Elevation 5 metres (16 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface

RAF Tain is a Ministry of Defence air weapons range on the Moray Firth near Tain in Scotland. Royal Air Force aircrews from RAF Lossiemouth are trained in air weaponry on the range, along with NATO aircrew.[1]


The following units were posted to the airfield at some point during the Second World War:

Current use[edit]

Observation tower at RAF Tain

The original airfield is no longer in operation, but still exists within the boundaries of the range.[1] The current station is the largest live weapons range in the Defence Training Estates.[1] It was one of only three ranges in Europe where live 1,000-pound (450 kg) bombs may be dropped (the others are Cape Wrath (RN) and Otterburn (Army)), and thus crucial to the final certification of bomber pilots. Several Second World War airfield buildings in various states of decay can be seen from the road to Inverness and Portmahomack.

RAF Tain is now under the control of DTE (Defence Training Estates). The range has no live bombing as it is all done at the Cape Wrath range in the far northwest of Scotland at Durness. The weapons at Tain are 6.6 pounds (3 kg) and 31 pounds (14 kg) practice bombs and inert 1,000 pounds (450 kg) concrete bombs. The Americans have in the past dropped BDU-39 and -50s and some inert 500-pound (230 kg) bombs. Trainee pilots of No. 15 Squadron OCU (Operational Conversion Unit) from RAF Lossiemouth make use of the range, and it is available to aircrews from across the United Kingdom. The OCU use Tain to practice various types of attack from loft, dive and level from 250 feet (76 m) up to 15,000 feet (4,600 m). It is also an important range for UK Forward Air Controllers and their NATO counterparts to maintain their air weapons qualifications.

There are various bombing targets spread throughout the range, including strafe targets. The range is staffed by RAF controllers and assistants from QinetiQ, both of whom also man the Cape Wrath range.

As a Royal Naval Air Station, it was also known as RNAS Tain.



  1. ^ a b c "RAF Tain - Range Activity". Royal Air Force. 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 30.
  3. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 48.
  4. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 51.
  5. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 58.
  6. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 59.
  7. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 61.
  8. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 66.
  9. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 75.
  10. ^ a b c Jefford 1988, p. 83.
  11. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 85.
  12. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 89.
  13. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 90.
  14. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 91.
  15. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 93.
  16. ^ a b Jefford 1988, p. 95.
  17. ^ Jefford 1988, p. 97.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Tain". Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 


  • Jefford, C.G, MBE, BA, RAF (Retd). RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1988. ISBN 1-84037-141-2.

External links[edit]