The British Underwater Test & Evaluation Centre (MOD BUTEC) is located on two sites in north-west Scotland. A shore support base is located at the Kyle of Lochalsh, with a Range Terminal Building at Applecross and associated Range situated in the Inner Sound between Raasay and the Scottish mainland.
The MOD BUTEC area is bye-law protected and approximately 10km long and 6km wide, with a depth of between 175m and 200m. An Air Danger Area can be activated to cover the entire range if required. Together the area provides a controlled safe environment for a variety of trials and training activities, including airborne, surface and sub-surface assets, weapons and targets.
The facilities available at MOD BUTEC include:
Tracked Range: The bye-law protected sea area provides:
- The ability to track submarines, dived targets and heavy-weight torpedoes to support platform and weapon acceptance trials activities and submarine crew ‘weapon certification’.
- The ability to track surface ship and helicopter firings of light-weight torpedoes.
- Torpedo recovery from the surface or seabed, using specialised recovery platforms or a Remotely Operated Vehicle. There is also the capacity for offsite weapon recovery.
- A tracked deep acoustic range optimised for submarine underway radiated acoustic noise assessment.
- A dummy minefield with three different mine types, accurately mapped and enabling mine-hunters to exercise in a number of scenarios.
Shore Support Facilities: Ashore at Applecross and Kyle of Lochalsh, there are services and facilities to support on range operations:
- Range Terminal Building which provides control of the by-law protected air and water space, including the data capture functions for both underwater tracking and acoustic ranges.
- Specialised facilities for the de-preparation of torpedoes post firing, including the safe handling areas required to support Spearfish.
- The ability to maintain, prepare, deploy and recover autonomous targets that simulate various aspects of submarine operations.
- The ability to conduct production testing of air-dropped sonobuoys with data collection to enable testing and measurement during operations.
- A Trials Safety Manager who is able to offer advice on complex, bespoke and novel trials planning; extensive experience in Hazardous Activity management and access to Subject Matter Experts.
- An Explosive Safety Manager who is able to offer general or weapon specific advice; extensive knowledge of explosives related legislation
- Operation and control of a helipad at the Shore Support Base, capable of accommodating helicopters up to Merlin size; four multi-purpose trials vessels available.
Operational Readiness Testing and Support: Through the LTPA, QinetiQ is able to provide a range of proven services and facilities to support the testing and evaluation of operational platforms, leading to the optimisation of platform time. Services can include:
- Pre-deployment support, including underway acoustic ranging and crew certification.
- Platform calibration, including sonar calibrations, threat assessments, log calibration, underway signature measurement, and bearing accuracy checks.
- Operational Training area which can provide a full range of services to support surface, underwater and airborne platforms leading to the best use of valuable operational training time.
This fully-instrumented area enables the evaluation of underwater weapons, systems, and training, including:
Kyle of Lochalsh
Tel: 01397 436720
Directions from the South
MOD BUTEC or Rona would normally be accessed via Fort William from Glasgow/Edinburgh airports or from Inverness airport.
Directions from Fort William
Take the A82 north via Spean Bridge to Invergarry. Take the A87 sign-posted Kyle of Lochalsh. As you enter Kyle of Lochalsh turn left, following the sign 'BUTEC'.
Directions from Inverness
Take the A82 toward Fort William. At Invermoriston take the A887 and join the A87 at Claunie. As you enter Kyle of Lochalsh turn left, following the sign 'BUTEC'.