Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that the UK’s new fleet of P-8 Poseidon aircraft will deploy to the Arctic next year.

This deployment is part of the Defence Arctic Strategy, which will be published this spring, deepening our relationship with regional partners and sharpen our expertise of operating in the extreme cold environment.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“The Arctic Strategy puts us on the front foot in protecting Britain’s interests in this expanding new frontier.

Whether it’s sharpening our skills in sub-zero conditions, learning from longstanding allies like Norway or monitoring submarine threats with our Poseidon aircraft, we will stay vigilant to new challenges.”

Nine of the P-8 Poseidon aircraft will be delivered to RAF Lossiemouth in 2020 at which point they will begin reconnaissance patrols over a wide range including the High North and North Atlantic.

According to a news release:

“While in Norway the Defence Secretary also met with the elite commandos of the Royal Marines and discussed the unique challenge of honing their combat skills hundreds of miles inside the Arctic Circle where temperatures drop as low as -30°C.

As part of the Defence Arctic Strategy, the Royal Marines have committed to a 10-year training programme with their Norwegian counterparts, which will see around 1,000 Marines travelling North each year. A long-term NATO ally, Norway is also a fellow member of the Joint Expeditionary Force and Northern Group – two initiatives through which the UK is enhancing its co-operation with key northern European partners.”

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Rob Collinson

We need some aircraft first!!

Come on P-8, lets get delivered! Where are our aircraft on the production timeline?

I think we will eventually need more than 9 and we also need to order a fleet of E-7s to replace the Sentry AWACS aircraft.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree we need more.

What gets cut to pay for them? As something must be to spend extra in that area.

Daniele Mandelli

Yes read of this before, here and elsewhere.

I’m totally against cutting any ISTAR asset myself.

One of the few nations to operate this sort of asset akin to JSTARS and we just get rid of it? Madness.

Steve Salt

Foreign aid !


More money for Foreign Aid?

Phil C

There is no way on Earth that we will have nine P-8s based at Lossiemouth before 2021. In fact, there will quite likely never be nine stationed there as it’s a good bet that at least one of the early ones will be stripped for parts before the ninth has entered service.

Daniele Mandelli

There is that comment again.

9 delivered IN 2020. That is rubbish I believe. First of 9 delivered not the whole order!


We have ordered 9. First is scheduled for delivery by the end of 2019.


I agree with many of Gavin Williamson’s comments but other times he just sounds as though he is auditioning for PM. This is one of those occasions. The first P-8 will not even be operational until some time in 2020, yet apparently we are sending it straight to the arctic. We won’t, he is just trying to appeal to his fellow Tory MPs.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree with all that.

As for “deploying to the Arctic” does that mean leaving the home station of Lossimouth and forward basing somewhere further north, or just carrying out a patrol from Lossimouth?
In which case it is total political waffle as that is what they are being bought for anyway!

Daniele Mandelli

RGR Putin is placing renewed emphasis on the Arctic. NATO’s northern flank was always a hot spot in the Cold War, with the gigantic Soviet concentration of forces in the Kola Peninsula opposite far North Eastern Norway. The Russian SSN’s come from there still and operate in the Barents Sea, which runs into the GIUK gap which was a virtual NATO line of land installations, airbases, SOSUS / IUSS sea bed listening devices, submarines, and ASW groups. Any future conflict would again require Russian subs to transit the area to get to the Atlantic. Throughout the Cold War, and no… Read more »


Some say that “Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia” ( is being used as the blueprint for Russian foreign policy.

Not sure if its been translated into English, but there is a Russian version online. Maybe of interest to some. Two of points made are:

– France should be encouraged to form a “Franco–German bloc” with Germany. Both countries have a “firm anti-Atlanticist tradition”
– The United Kingdom should be cut off from Europe.


So Aachen treaty and brexit are ticks in those boxes. Interesting link. Cheers.


‘ The United Kingdom should be cut off from Europe’

which is why Putin ( and Trump) are so keen on Brexit.


The USN planned to use the sea fjiords of Norway to base carrier battle groups to take the fight away from the Atlantic – ‘Battle For The Fjiords’ published by the Ian Allan group (I think) covers the plan.

captain P Wash.

RGR. They are sent to Intercept Santa.

It’s does get mentioned here every year !


Quote is from Wiki…..

Might take a while to deploy the fleet to the Artic.

‘On 11 July 2016, Boeing announced the signing of a procurement contract with the Royal Air Force for nine P-8 aircraft and support infrastructure at a cost of $3.87 billion (£3 billion). Manufacture will be spread across three production lots over a ten-year period’

Daniele Mandelli

Exactly. Dragged out like the T26!


Spin, spin and more spin.

We’ll have one or two in Norway for a couple of weeks a year to support excercises. No bad thing, am all for it. Gav just makes it sound like we’re invading and occupying Murmansk. Harmless political grandstanding – Norgies are pragmatic so they prob know it.


I do love how they announce deployment of assets not even in service yet.

QE to go to south asia seas, t31 to be forward deployed in middle east….

Maybe lets focus on the capability we have today rather then dreaming of the future.


Are there any acceptable 5 star hotels that far north for the RAF Flight crew and ground staff to use? 🙂


This major gap in operational capability will have lasted more than 10 years by the time the P8 is operational. It need never have happened if the Nimrod programme hadn’t been scrapped in the name of political ideology. From the Avro Museum:-

“The first 5 Mk.4s had all flown and were virtually complete, but none had been delivered. Set 6 had been engine running, soon to fly, and Set 7 had had systems and pressure tests, all before the axe fell”.


Oops, only just seen that you already posted this link below


Sorry to say that there were other reasons why the home of mk4 never made it.


I know of the problems marrying wings to airframes but clearly these had been solved. This might be of interest:-

Section 3, regarding the supposed flaws is particularly interesting. Cancellation was an act of vandalism for political reasons by a government that has shown, in its cuts and general treatment of the forces that it isn’t to be trusted on national defence and security.

R cummings

Hear, hear HF. The Nimrods were scrapped because the cost had mushroomed, the new Government wanted to slash public expenditure and as usual, defence was the easy cost-cutting target. Despite a long-running saga of problems and vast cost increases, the Nimrods were done and dusted and ready to take to the air. Angle-grinding the wings off the aircraft on camera was political posturing and vandalism on an epic scale. We promptly lost the hundreds of millions of pounds that had gone into the work, left the nation with no MR/ASW capability at all for a decade, ended up buying a… Read more »

Dumb Engineer

With continuing purchases of US made equipment, and now talk of deployment to the Artic, could somebody please help me to understand why we are not spending a little of the money on equipping Voyager with the boom refuelling system thast is already developed and operational?

Odd Bakken

Relax, the P8 will probably have to use Lossiemouth as home base in the future.
The current MPA-base at Andøya is closing down, and the new base at Evenes wont have space for visiting P8s.