The £3bn fleet of P-8A Poseidons equipped with “state-of-the-art sensors” enabling it to detect, identify and track vessels both above and below water are to be stationed at RAF Lossiemouth on the Moray coast.
The first of nine new maritime patrol aircraft for the RAF is due to arrive at a Scottish air force station after being flown from the United States. Sqd Ldr Dave Higgins will be among the crew board Tuesday’s flight to Kinloss following training in the US.
£132m of improvements being made at Lossiemouth to accommodate the fleet and its crews, including a new “strategic facility” to house and maintain the aircraft and personnel. The investment includes £75m in resurfacing runways.
The first of the completed planes will operate from nearby Kinloss Barracks, a former RAF station, while new facilities are built at Lossiemouth.
The last of those jet aircraft, called Nimrods, flew out of RAF Kinloss in 2010. New Nimrods were turned to scrap as part of defence cuts, but not replaced by another type of plane.
A review in 2015 led to the Ministry of Defence ordering the P-8A Poseidons from US aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
The RAF crews will operate alongside the Royal Navy in a submarine hunter role, and in work identifying and tracking surface vessels.
The first of the completed Poseidons has been named the Pride of Moray. It is expected to move from Kinloss to Lossiemouth by the end of this year.
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