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.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

I am interested what Britain provides to this coop agreement considering we have zero maritime aircraft to share. It’s pretty rare for a Britain to be in a position with a smaller country where we have nothing to bring to the table.

4 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Lots of stuff surely? P-8As for a start. OK, we don’t have any delivered yet but defence cooperation agreements with allies will hopefully persist for decades so one can hardly criticise the U.K. if this is a case of getting pieces in place in advance of the aircraft arriving. It seems like a case of good long-term planning (for once). Norway are currently considering P-8A so ability to seedcorn on our planes in the same way we are doing on US planes right now would be invaluable to Norway. Even just getting access to our internal evaluation reports that informed… Read more »

4 years ago
Reply to  Julian

I suspect the truth of the matter is we need their help over the next 4-8 years until we get the P-8A’s up and running, and in return no doubt we have agreed to provide them with something, probably increased ground forces.

4 years ago

“Britain needs Maritime Patrol Aircraft to keep watch over the seas.”
So what was SDSR2010 all about then if it were not cuts!