A Royal Air Force crew has flown a Royal Air Force P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft for the first time.
Mark Faulds, the aircrafts pilots, told the UK Defence Journal “it flew beautifully!”.
Very well done @CXX_Squadron // 54 Sqn – and the whole team that has supported us to get to this point. Absolutely fantastic to seenan RAF crew fly an RAF Poseidon for the first time. Roll on Feb next year. #NoOrdinaryJob @RoyalAirForce https://t.co/Xgc9hkhGc7
— Air Vice-Marshal Harv Smyth (@AOC_1_Group) December 5, 2019
ZP801 is airborne for the first time with an RAF Crew, made up of @CXX_Squadron and 54 Squadron personnel!
— RAF Lossiemouth (@RAFLossiemouth) December 4, 2019
Earlier in the year, 54 Squadron received their first P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
The aircraft, ZP801, has been formally handed over to the Royal Air Force. The aircraft will be based at RAF Lossiemouth. This comes not long after the second Royal Air Force P-8 took to the air for the first time.
Speaking before the event, a Royal Air Force spokesperson said:
“The team from 54 Squadron have received ZP801, which will fly to Naval Air Station Jacksonville tomorrow to be formally handed over to the Royal Air Force. It will then be maintained by engineers from Poseidon Line Squadron, enabling our pilots and weapons systems operators on CXX Squadron to continue their training prior to the long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to the UK in February!”
The Poseidon is based on the Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, the supply chain for which is already supported by UK industry, providing several hundred direct UK jobs.
UK manufacturers also provide specialist sub-systems for the P-8A, for example Marshalls (auxiliary fuel tanks), Martin Baker (crew seats), GE (Weapon Pylons) and GKN Aerospace (windshields).
The UK is buying 9 of the aircraft in total, however, evidence submitted to the Defence Select Committee argues that seven additional P-8 Poseidon aircraft should be acquired, bringing the total fleet to 16 aircraft.
The first aircraft will arrive in the UK in February 2020.