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Royal Naval Air Station Machrihanish (HMS Landrail), is a former Royal Navy air station, close to Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.


Located 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Campbeltown on the western side of the Kintyre Peninsula, Machrihanish is a former RAF air station, notable for its weather forecasts. The base had an exceptionally long runaway (3049m / 10,000 feet), together with a large number of technical buildings and accommodation.


Machrihanish was established as a naval air station in 1916, operating maritime patrol aircraft and airships until 1918.[1] A new airfield opened on 15 June 1941 as Strabane Naval Air Station, and named HMS Landrail, becoming RNAS Machrihanish later in the month and operated until 1946.[2] The old airfield became HMS Landrail II.

The Air Station was re-activated again during the Korean War for training purposes. Between 1960-62, the base was reconstructed and the current runway built. Thereafter the base developed in relation to NATO requirements during the Cold War, and was the focus of anti-submarine operations with US-controlled nuclear depth charges.[1] A US Navy SEAL unit is also said to have been based here.[1] £10 million was spent to upgrade the station in the early 1990s, keeping it on a care-and-maintenance basis to provide a runway for emergencies or in the event of conflict.[1] The base remained a UK and NATO military base until 1997.

Campbeltown Airport[]

Between the wars a commercial aerodrome was established and is still operated by the government-owned Highlands and Islands Airports Limited operates with IATA location code "GQJ".[3] It uses the same single runway which, at 3049m (10,000 feet), is the longest in Scotland.[3] The terminal building are at the south-eastern end. There are scheduled flights to Glasgow.

See also[]


Coordinates: 55°26′27″N 5°41′53″W / 55.44083°N 5.69806°W / 55.44083; -5.69806

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