A Minister has stated that British weapons may be added to P-8 “once the aircraft has reached full operating capability and there has been time to study the optimal utilisation model for the UK”.

The information came to light via a Parliamentary Question.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when (a) UK torpedoes and (b) UK sonobuoys will be cleared for use for the P-8.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, responded:

“The RAF Poseidon MRA1 was delivered in the same configuration as that operated by the US Navy which enables a swifter introduction to service, economies of scale and interoperability with close allies. We envisage that once the aircraft has reached full operating capability and there has been time to study the optimal utilisation model for the UK, the Department will be in a position to make decisions on future equipment configurations.”

This appears to be a softening in position. Back in 2016, then Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said:

“The Department intends to bring the P-8A into service without significant modification to ensure the delivery of operational capability as soon as is practicable. There are no current plans to integrate Stormshadow or other UK manufactured weapons onto the aircraft.”

The P-8 itself is able to conduct anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and shipping interdiction along with an electronic signals intelligence role. Undertaking this role would require the aircraft (in British service specifically as the Americans already do this) to be cleared to carry various missiles and other weapons.

The Mk 54 Torpedo is so far the only weapon that has been cleared for use on the aircraft in British service.

What weapons can British P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft carry?

Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, said earlier this week:

“As at 4 January 2022 the Poseidon MRA1 has been cleared for Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare and Search and Rescue in support of submarines. It is assisted in these roles by its sophisticated suite of radar and data gathering equipment. The Mk 54 Torpedo has been cleared for use on the aircraft.”

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jay R
Jay R
2 months ago

Did the Nimrod ever deploy a weapon in anger in the gulf or falklands?

A nuclear depth charge wepaon would be a good option. That would make the ruskies think twice before cutting cables.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay R

Weapons were deployed on the Nimrod during the Falklands War, some interesting solutions were urgently Engineered to add some capability ( Shrike ARM for instance) but cannot say for definite if any were used in anger.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

The Shrike was added but the Nimrod deployment was then stopped by the friendlies in the area as it was too sensitive just when it was about to become ultra useful. It would have been a lot more useful to have Shrike etc on the Nimrod than the Black Buck runs. Nimrod had a much better guidance and aiming suite than the V’s did. There is another interpretation of the whole Black Buck missions thong BTW. Black Buck were solely to give cover to armed aircraft appearing which is why RAF and MOD so heavily trailed and so much was… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

I recall Sidewinder being fitted to Nimrod for close in protection- never used though

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Yes, it was.

Nimrod never got close enough to the action for Sidewinder to be of use.

I think the ELINT / over watch angle was played to the Chileans etc who then got cold feet when they realised it would be used as a bomb truck.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

I seem to recall Sidewinders being fitted?

Matt
Matt
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay R

Can data cables survive a nuclear depth charge?

I’m more inclined towards a JV deal with Saab to build conventional submarines.

They escaped from being closed down by the Germans, so may be open to an arrangement.

Last edited 2 months ago by Matt
grizzler
grizzler
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt

If they can I’m building a shed out of them 🙂

Keith Rozga
Keith Rozga
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay R

also Falkland war Nimrod carrier air to air Missiles use Sidewinders

Last edited 2 months ago by Keith Rozga
Something Different
Something Different
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay R

Sidewinders we’re deployed, there was even a crude clear plastic oblong with an aiming reticle in the cockpit for the missiles, very Heath Robison

Bob
Bob
2 months ago

Have we actually purchased any Mk 54 torpedoes?

Wise move to get them into service and then consider weapon upgrades rather than wait longer and watch the costs rise.

Paul42
Paul42
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob

I would sincerely hope we have, if not what’s the point? I understood our P8s would be kitted out with all the kit on the US versions which should cover all aspects of required weaponry??

Last edited 2 months ago by Paul42
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob

Hi Bob,

My understanding was that the procurement included a batch of MK54’s as well, although I have never seen numbers for the torpedo buy.

Cheers CR

Bob
Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Cheers CR 👍

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob

‘Common weapons stockpile’ shared between UK and UK based US P8’s was what the press releases said.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
2 months ago

One issue I have trouble with is that whenever the UK purchases a US built aircraft, we still go through the whole procedure of qualifying US built weapons for it, even if that weapon is already in US service on that aircraft type. This can add years to the time when the aircraft achieves its full potential.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago

Despite the wording of the article im not sure that’s the case – any US manufactured Weapon System qualified for a US built Aircraft would automatically be qualified if the same platform was supplied to the UK,provided said platform is at the exact same standard with no UK specific modifications.

John Hartley
John Hartley
2 months ago

A small buy of LRASM & SLAM-ER, would make sense, if the UK is to make full use of RAF P-8.

Smithy
Smithy
2 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I’d say look at the Harpoon Block II first as it’s already integrated and in use. I also think that the RN should be looking at this as an interim ASM option for it’s T23s.
This of course would be alongside enabling the use of StingRay and ASRAAM.

Storm Shadow would be a great addition also if the number of P8s was expanded and the RAF used it as a medium bomber.

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago
Reply to  Smithy

Although it would require integration I would much rather acquire LRASM as it has a much better range, low observability, and a larger warhead. It is also compatible with the F-35 which give the CSGs a decent long-range anti-ship strike capability. Harpoons are going to be yesterday’s news quite soon as they offer no technological advantage in terms of survivability-to-target, being neither stealthy or fast. The NSM should be considered as an option too.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

“ neither stealthy or fast” nail on head.

It isn’t as some people say the electronics but the missile form factor itself that is the issue.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
2 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Plus sone additional 3-5 aircraft please…here’s hoping.

Paul42
Paul42
2 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

It would!

Max Jones
Max Jones
2 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Of course this implies the UK would simply buy a small batch of missiles to use on a specific platform like most countries.

In reality the result would be a five year acquisition plan that is intended to allow cross-operation with multiple other platforms only to result in cancellation, delays or going ahead with the program and then cancelling a decade later when the weapons have still not entered service.

Challenger
Challenger
2 months ago

Political speak for no more weapons on the horizon!

A lightweight torpedo and little-nothing else. Oh dear….

geoffi
geoffi
2 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

Yep, very little movement (and thought, probably) in 5 years. We dont even have the Mk54 yet. I guess the MoD thinking just shouting at Russian submarines is enough…

Bob
Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  geoffi

That’s what I suspected 😖

Paul42
Paul42
2 months ago
Reply to  geoffi

A $40 million contract was awarded back in 2018 for Mk54 lightweight torpedo kits for a number of P8 operators including the UK……

Geoffi
Geoffi
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Have we taken delivery of any ?
Have done any practice drops ?

Thought not…..

Paul42
Paul42
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

A UK P8 carried out a practice drop on 22/07/2021 and I believe there was a second practice drop a little later. The RAF will not publicly cry out that it has taken delivery of Mk54s but I believe it has, the idea being that due to commonality it can also be used on US and Norwegian P8s operating out of the UK if required.

John N
John N
2 months ago

A good article from The WarZone (published in early 2020), regarding the USNs plans to add a number of new weapons to the P-8A.

Currently there is of course Mk54 torpedoes and Harpoon AShM:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/32071/navy-to-greatly-expand-p-8-poseidons-mission-with-new-missiles-mines-bombs-and-decoys

First new cab off the rank is LRASM, which is good news for the RAAF, which has 200 missiles on order for use on both F/A-18F and P-8A, and eventually on the F-35A too (external carriage).

Cheers,

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
2 months ago

Hopefully, we’re keeping them undercover!

Australian P-8A fleet damaged by hailstorm
13 JANUARY 2022

“The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) is assessing the damage done to its fleet of Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) following “a severe weather event” last year.”

Last edited 2 months ago by Nigel Collins
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago

Good news that the MoD is even considering putting UK weapons onto the P-8A’s. By all accounts the StingRay is a far superior weapon being faster, better homing capabilities and deeper diving. If BAE Systems make as good a job of the proposed new light weight torpedo then it will be a must for the P-8. Assuming the torpedo arrives in service before the P-8 OSD, of course. The big disadvantage that I see with the P-8A is that it has a relatively small weapons bay. Nimrod, P-3 etc. had much bigger weapons bays so could have been developed into… Read more »

Farouk
Farouk
2 months ago

It is issues like the above which really get my goat when it comes to the pound foolish, penny shy purchasing attitude at the MOD. The first plane was delivered in Nov 2019, it is now Jan 2022 over 2 years later and nobody had pulled their finger out. But lets be honest here, this sums up the lethargy of the civil service to a T 

Roy
Roy
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

There isn’t even enough money to fit five frigates with the interim surface-to-surface missile. The “for but not with” reality for the P-8 should be no surprise.

PRJ
PRJ
2 months ago
Reply to  Roy

With some commentators assessing conflict with RU is possible, the MOD is continuing with it’s lethality holiday. That can’t bode well. At least in 1936 we geared up, today 1SL now CDS talks about lethality at the end of the decade! Incompetence that could cost lots of lives and be the RN’s snatch Land Rovers

Russia says Ukraine talks hit ‘dead end’, Poland warns of risk of war | Reuters

Geoffi
Geoffi
2 months ago
Reply to  PRJ

Yep, I cant help but marvel at the utter delusion of the UK defence staff. One false move by anybody at the moment and WW3 could start…

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  PRJ

It’s so strange. If Russia did expand into Ukraine it would then be next to nato countries. As it is it has Ukraine as a buffer. Ukraine is not joining nato or the eu in the next 5-10 years at least and most likely that can be expanded to 50 Years. I understand putin putting all the troops on the border to try and force nato to agree to his terms. This has failed. So what’s plan b? Can he invade far enough to secure water supplies to Crimea? Would it even work. It’s going to cost a lot of… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  PRJ

If war does kick off you will find me in the garden with a spade digging a shelter. Maybe in a few years I will reach the safety of New Zealand 😂

B.A. B.
B.A. B.
2 months ago

Here we are again, buying yank rubbish, why didn’t we at least insist on rolls Royce engines. The p8s don’t have even have 1/2 the capability of the Nimrod. The Nimrod could loiter for 24 hrs, with refulling, can the p8 be even air refuelled with the british probe and drogue system. Let’s not start on the weapons carrying capability, we buy a plane that we can’t even put our own weapons on it. If it wasn’t so laughable we’d be crying.
When will the P.T.B. get their heads out of their backsides.
Rant over.

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  B.A. B.

Putting RR engines on the P8 would have pushed up the price massively and delayed the project. For a small number of aircraft buying the standard product off the shelf is the way to go.

Paul42
Paul42
2 months ago
Reply to  B.A. B.

Yank rubbish? The P8 is the best there is, hence its in use with a number of countries including us. It was a no brainer to buy the best off the shelf.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  B.A. B.

Not even Sure a RR engine is fitted to a 737 Ng at any point, learning from a Mistake of MRA4. P8 can be refueled by Nato/Allies aircraft. P8 onboard Fuel is 18hrs without a refuel. a Capability that was destroyed by BAEs and a pissing contest over Funding on MRA4 Contract with Air-tanker does affect the Refueling and Chobham was working on Booms for P8s and E7s but concern over exceeding air-tankers hours would trigger a contract varriation. so if required they will call in an Allies tanker. So going back to MRA4 no suitable airframe most of the… Read more »

B.A. B.
B.A. B.
2 months ago

Reply to david: these engines are all bolt on pods, you can have them with the engines of your choice. What about the spares for the engines, at least that money would be kept in this country. OK, you say only a small amount of planes, x 2 engines per plane throughout their lifetime, surely that should be taken into consideration. Also the airframe is standard(re engines) but the electronics suite is as required by the customer, isn’t that work being done by marshals. If we as the customer require certain extras, the seller would be faling over themselves to… Read more »

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  B.A. B.

No RR engine is fitted onto a 737 Ng NONE MRA4 is the perfect smack back for every argument you offer.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  B.A. B.

Over 100 P8s were delivered to Multi Nations as an off-the-shelf unit. and one customer wants to fit a NON STANDARD ENGINE.

Dont tell me You screwed a living out of BAEs and screwed the UK Taxpayer you last project was a shitstorm called a MRA4 where you did exactly what you just said. did you move onto Ajax when they realised your a cock

Martin Alder
Martin Alder
2 months ago

The engine of the P8, which is a derivative of the 737-800 NG airliner, is very specific to the type. There is no alternative engine option in the thrust size and dimensions for the airliner version. Rolls Royce used to have a share in the IAE V2500 engine, but sold that a few years ago. The IAE engine had not been offered on any 737 variants. That’s because the uniqueness of the 737 engine installation and the cost of development was such that CFM had an exclusive position . Boeing weren’t interested in running up a development bill for an… Read more »

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin Alder

Thank you B.A.B still living in the 1980s

What British Airframe do we install the Kit into Last British Airframe of size would be a 146 and we are retiring them Now.