The Royal Air Force declared P-8A Poseidon Operational

The Royal Air Force has declared its new P-8A Poseidon aircraft ready for deployment.

The announcement means the submarine hunter can now be tasked with helping to secure UK waters, as well as protecting the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet and aircraft carriers.

Air Marshal Andy Turner, Deputy Commander Capability, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Poseidon Force has met its first operational milestone on time.

“It is a crucial aircraft for the security of the UK, critical to allies and NATO and a major weapon to press back on our adversaries all over the world.”

Crews from 120 Squadron have been training with the new maritime patrol aircraft in Scotland which is designed to fill the role left by the Nimrod fleet which was scrapped in 2010. 

According to the RAF, the aircraft uses “cutting edge technology” to ” identify and monitor hostile contacts both above and below the waves”.

The aircraft can also be used to carry out surveillance, as well as search and rescue missions. 

It can carry up to 129 sonobuoys to search for enemy submarines and can also fire Mk54 torpedoes.

Pilot undergoes low level flying training for the P-8A Poseidon (Picture: RAF).
The P-8A Poseidon undertaking low level flight training (Picture: RAF).

The RAF has two P-8As – The Pride of Moray and The City of Elgin – however, seven more aircraft are expected to become part of the fleet by the end of 2021.

The nine aircraft will cost the UK £3 billion in total. 

The two P-8As are currently based at Kinloss Barracks but will move to RAF Lossiemouth once the base’s £460 million upgrade is completed later this year.

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