« We look forward to ZP801’s first flight in July and initial delivery to Naval Air Station Jacksonville in the autumn, » the RAF said on an official P-8A Poseidon Twitter account.
Earlier, the future home of the UK’s nine P-8A aircraft RAF Lossiemouth airbase confirmed that the first Poseidon « is coming along at the Boeing Facility in the USA. Preparations are being made for its first flight! And at Naval Air Station Jacksonville the first two RAF crews have completed their conversion training! ».
Based on the Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, the Poseidon MRA Mk.1 is the UK future long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft. Nine aircraft are on order following a US$3.87Bn contract signed on July 2016 with Boeing.
The first of the RAF’s Poseidon aircraft is expected to be handed to 120 Squadron towards the end of 2019, before making its first appearance in the UK in early 2020. The submarine hunter will help to protect the UK’s nuclear deterrent, as well as the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. They will also work with the new Type 26 Frigates, which are currently being built in Scotland.