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
Coordinates57°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
TypeRoyal Air Force Air weapons range
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Air Force
Site history
Built1930 (1930)
In use1930-1950 (1950)
Airfield information
Elevation5 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 DIO (Defence Infrastructure Organisation). The range has no live (High Explosive) 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) 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. Typhoon Squadrons from RAF Lossiemouth are primary users of the range, and it is available to aircrews from across the United Kingdom. It is also an important range for UK Joint Terminal Attack 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 support staff from Landmarc Support Services, 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]