Air Warfare

First RAF P-8 Poseidon arrives in country

5th February 2020 - 09:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) first P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft has arrived in the UK, the Ministry of Defence announced on 4 February.

The aircraft is the first of nine Poseidon aircraft being acquired under a £3 billion programme which will improve the UK’s ability to track hostile targets below and above the waves.

The new fleet will protect the UK’s continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent and be central to NATO missions across the North Atlantic, co-operating closely with the US and Norwegian Poseidon fleets.

The Poseidon is designed to carry out extended surveillance missions at high and low altitudes. The aircraft is equipped with sensors which use high-resolution area mapping to find both submarines and surface vessels. It also carries sonobuoys which can be dropped from the aircraft into the sea to search for enemy submarines, surveying the battlespace under the sea and relaying data back to the aircraft.

Poseidon will be armed with Harpoon anti-surface ship missiles and Mk 54 torpedoes capable of attacking both surface and sub-surface targets.

All nine UK Poseidons will be delivered to the RAF by the end of 2021 and achieve full operational capability from RAF Lossiemouth in 2024. The aircraft will be flown initially by 120 Squadron, with 201 Squadron joining the programme in due course.

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