RAF press release
Poseidon will now be patrolling our seas, hunting potentially hostile submarines and helping to defend our nuclear deterrent. It uses the very latest in cutting-edge technology to detect, identify and monitor hostile contacts both above and below the waves. It can carry up to 129 sonobuoys to search for enemy submarines and can be armed with Mk54 torpedoes if required to attack enemy submarines.
‘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.’Air Marshal Andy Turner, Deputy Commander Capability
“We’ve just declared an initial operating capability for our Poseidon aircraft, on time on 1st April 2020. It’s a really exciting time for us in this programme, which is moving fast and the team at RAF Lossiemouth has delivered some great results in very quick time. We’ve still got a long way to go with introducing this next generation capability into Service, but Poseidon is a game-changer, not just for hunting submarines but for a range of other roles from anti-ship warfare, maritime reconnaissance and long-range search and rescue tasks.”
Our Poseidon aircraft are operated by 54 Squadron and 120 Squadron, who are currently flying from Kinloss Airfield in Moray, Scotland. Poseidon will move to its permanent home at RAF Lossiemouth later this year once the refurbishment work on the runways and airfield infrastructure has been completed, including the new Strategic Facility which is being delivered by Defence Equipment and Support. Our second Poseidon squadron, Number 201 Squadron, will also stand up later this year.
The Poseidon is an established and proven capability with the aircraft already in service and operated by the US Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. The Royal Norwegian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force have also decided to buy the Boeing P-8A Poseidon. We are looking forward to working closely with our Poseidon allies in the future as we introduce our new aircraft into service.
About the UK’s Poseidon MRA Mk1
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.
A contract for P-8 development was granted in June 2004 and first flight followed on April 25, 2009. The US Navy announced initial operating capability on November 29, 2013 and the P-8 is now been widely delivered not only to the US Navy, but also to the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.
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 MRA Mk1 specifications
- 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