First 3 RAF Poseidon MPA Are Now at Their Lossiemouth Home Base in Scotland

 In Land, EPC, UK, Defense, Local, Air

On October 13, ZP802 ‘City of Elgin’ was the first of the sub­ma­rine-hunt­ing air­craft to land at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

On October 14, ZP801 ‘Pride of Moray’ touched down on the resur­faced runway, with ZP803 ‘Terence Bulloch’ fol­low­ing less than two hours later as the third member of the fleet, having been flown direct­ly from the US on its deliv­ery flight.

The trio will be based in a £100-mil­lion strate­gic facil­i­ty designed and built by Boeing Defence UK and local con­struc­tion part­ner Robertson, and which was deliv­ered by DE&S to the RAF at the end of September.

Nine Poseidon have been ordered from Boeing, the first of which – ‘Pride of Moray’ –landed on British soil at Kinloss Airfield in February. Since then, crews from CXX Squadron have been secur­ing the seas around the UK on oper­a­tional mis­sions.

54 Squadron have also been train­ing new pilots and weapons sys­tems oper­a­tors on the plat­form, as 400 addi­tion­al mil­i­tary per­son­nel will be join­ing Team Lossie in Moray to fly and oper­ate the nine air­craft.

The next two RAF Poseidons have been paint­ed at Boeing’s Renton site in the US and are cur­rent­ly locat­ed at the P‑8 Installation and Checkout facil­i­ty in Tukwila, south of Seattle, where mis­sion sys­tems are installed, and fur­ther test­ing will take place before deliv­ery. All nine of the fleet, based on the Next-Generation 737, are expect­ed to be in the UK by the end of 2021.

About the UK’s Poseidon MRA1 MPA

The first two British Poseidon MPAs: Pride of Moray and City of Elgin
The first two British Poseidon MPAs: Pride of Moray and City of Elgin. Royal air force picture

Boeing’s P‑8A Poseidon is a multi-role mar­itime patrol air­craft, equipped with sen­sors and weapons sys­tems for anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare, as well as sur­veil­lance and search and rescue mis­sions. 

The P‑8A’s com­pre­hen­sive mis­sion system fea­tures an APY-10 radar with modes for high-res­o­lu­tion map­ping, an acoustic sensor system, includ­ing pas­sive and multi-static sonobuoys, elec­tro-optical/IR turret and elec­tron­ic sup­port mea­sures (ESM).  This equip­ment deliv­ers com­pre­hen­sive search and track­ing capa­bil­i­ty, while the aircraft’s weapons system includes tor­pe­does for engag­ing sub-sur­face tar­gets. 

Boeing deliv­ered the 100th P-8A air­craft in mid-May. This was the 94th mis­sion-capa­ble air­plane to enter the U.S. Navy fleet, with six addi­tion­al jets used as Engineering Manufacturing Development test air­craft. The 100th fully-oper­a­tional deliv­ery is sched­uled for later this year. Boeing has also deliv­ered 12 jets to the Royal Australian Air Force, two to the U.K.’s Royal Air Force and eight P‑8Is to the Indian Navy. Norway will begin receiv­ing their five P‑8As in 2022; both New Zealand and South Korea have signed agree­ments with the U.S. Navy to pur­chase four and six air­craft respec­tive­ly.

The BAE Systems Nimrod MRA.Mk 4 upgrade of exist­ing Nimrod MR.Mk 2 air­frames had been under­way for some years when it was axed under the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.  The MR.Mk 2 was also with­drawn, leav­ing the UK with­out effec­tive long-range, fixed-wing mar­itime cover.  Project Seedcorn saw per­son­nel posted into mar­itime patrol units with allied air arms, main­tain­ing vital skills until the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review con­firmed the intend­ed pur­chase of nine Poseidons for the RAF.

With the P‑8 squadron num­bers chosen, the type will oper­ate from RAF Lossiemouth, where infra­struc­ture is being pre­pared for its arrival around 2020.  The air­craft will be equipped with US weapons, although British weapons may be inte­grat­ed in future. 

Poseidon MRA1 specifications

First Operation for RAF Poseidon tracking Russian Warship

RAF P-8A Poseidon and Typhoon overflys Vasily Bykov over the North Sea. RAF picture
  • Powerplant: two 27,000lb st (120kN) CFM International CFM56‑7 tur­bo­fan engines
  • Length: 129ft 6in (39.47m)
  • Height: 42ft 1¼in (12.83m)
  • Wingspan: 123ft 7¼in (37.64m)
  • Maximum take-off weight: 189,200lb (85,820kg)
  • Maximum speed: 490kt (907km/h)
  • Ferry range: 4,500 miles (7,242km)
  • Service ceil­ing: 41,000ft

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