Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced new cooperation on Maritime Patrol Aircraft and exercises.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“Britain needs Maritime Patrol Aircraft to keep watch over the seas. As part of our £178 billion defence equipment programme, we’ve committed to new maritime patrol aircraft that are able to monitor threats to Britain and our armed forces.”
The Defence Secretary arrived in Norway following meetings with the Northern Group countries on Wednesday in Copenhagen, where he reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to European defence.
As part of this, the Defence Secretary announced that 5 Battalion The Rifles would lead the UK’s battalion in Estonia next year, part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the East.
Work on the UK’s MPA programme is progressing well, including the investment on infrastructure in Lossiemouth in Scotland, where the aircraft will be based.
The P-8 Poseidon is an aircraft designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The aircraft is capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations and is a derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800.
The following excerpt comes from an American Foreign Military Sales notification.
“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for P-8A Aircraft and associated equipment, training, and support. The estimated cost is $3.2 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on March 24, 2016.
The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) has requested notification for the possible procurement of up to nine (9) P-8A Patrol Aircraft, associated major defense equipment, associated training, and support. The estimated cost is $3.2 billion.
The UK is a close ally and an important partner on critical foreign policy and defense issues. The proposed sale will enhance U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing the UK’s capabilities to provide national defense and contribute to NATO and coalition operations.
The proposed sale will allow the UK to re-establish its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) capability that it divested when it cancelled the Nimrod MRA4 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) program. The United Kingdom has retained core skills in maritime patrol and reconnaissance following the retirement of the Nimrod aircraft through Personnel Exchange Programs (PEPs). The MSA has remained the United Kingdom’s highest priority unfunded requirement.
The P-8A aircraft would fulfill this requirement. The UK will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.”
The approval means that the UK will acquire the P-8A aircraft along with associated equipment, training, and support at an estimated cost of around £250 million each.
P-8s are also to perform search-and-rescue missions and conduct overland reconnaissance.
Deliveries of the P-8’s are to begin before 2020 with three being in service before then.