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.”


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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!

      • 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 doubt still, RN and USN SSN operate in the north shadowing Soviet and now Russian SSN, searching for their Bombers ( SSBN ) and carrying out intelligence gathering roles.

        The Royal Marines have been used in expeditionary roles in the Middle East over the last few decades, and neglected their traditional arctic warfare specialisation ( they were earmarked for Norway if the Cold War turned hot ) so are getting renewed emphasis there now.

        It is a major area of concern for NATO should Putin ramp things up further.

  3. 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’

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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”.

  7. 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 very expensive aircraft not made in the UK – with the big result being that the MR/ASW fleet has been cut from 22 to just 9 aircraft, which is hopelessly inadequate for northern and east Atlantic duties, even before Williamson starts sending non-existent planes to a further theatre.

    The politicians responsible should really face a public inquiry and severe repercussions.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.


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