A number of U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft are flying from RAF Lossiemouth to patrol the North Atlantic.
A number of American P-8 aircraft were spotted over Scotland today, this article is an attempt to explain what they were doing should anyone be curious.
It is understood that four American P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft are operating from Scotland patrolling the Greenland-Iceland-UK (GIUK) gap, this has been going on since at least October last year and is partly due to the UK fleet not yet being at full strength. They were originally flying from Glasgow Prestwick Airport but have now moved to RAF Lossiemouth after completion of work to the runway.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport, for anyone interested, is a passenger and freight airport serving the west of Scotland situated 32 miles from Glasgow. It is the less busy of the two airports serving the area, the busier one being Glasgow Airport. The airport frequently hosts military aircraft crossing the Atlantic or supporting exercises.
Nine Poseidon MRA1 aircraft have been ordered, the first of which landed on British soil for the first time in February 2020.
According to an RAF statement at the time:
“Since then, crews from CXX Squadron have been securing the seas over and around the United Kingdom on operational missions. 54 Squadron have also been training new pilots and weapons systems operators on the platform, as 400 additional military personnel will be joining Team Lossie in Moray to fly and operate the nine aircraft.
Poseidon is a hugely capable submarine hunter, able to locate, identify, and track potentially hostile submarines as they operate close to our waters. Its powerful radar is also able to detect and track surface vessels above the waves. It boasts a comprehensive communications suite which means the intelligence it gathers can be passed to commanders whether they are in the air, on a ship, on the ground, or back at RAF Lossiemouth.”