The final P-8 Poseidon to be built for Britain, the ninth of nine, has now landed at the aircraft’s new home in Scotland.

The RAF describe the P-8 as “a multi-role maritime patrol aircraft, equipped with sensors and weapons systems for anti-submarine warfare, as well as surveillance and search and rescue missions.”

Aircraft number nine was spotted on approach to RAF Lossiemouth this morning.

Seven of the nine aircraft have also now been named.

  1. ZP801 “Pride of Moray”
  2. ZP802 “City of Elgin”
  3. ZP803 “Terence Bulloch DSO*DFC”
  4. ZP804 “Spirit of Reykjavik”
  5. ZP805 “Fulmar”
  6. ZP806 “Guernsey’s Reply”
  7. ZP807 “William Barker VC”

The names of the last two, including this aircraft, have yet to be revealed.

The RAF Poseidon fleet, now nine aircraft, is already providing maritime patrol capabilities working side-by-side with the Royal Navy and other Allies to secure the seas around the UK and abroad.

“The Poseidon’s comprehensive mission system features an APY-10 radar with modes for high-resolution mapping, an acoustic sensor system, including passive and multi-static sonobuoys, electro-optical/IR turret and electronic support measures (ESM). This equipment delivers comprehensive search and tracking capability, while the aircraft’s weapons system includes torpedoes for engaging sub-surface targets.”

201 Squadron operates the Poseidon in the anti-submarine warfare role from RAF Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth in Scotland.

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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BB85
BB85
2 months ago

That didn’t take long did it. I take it all of the air crew where trained in the US if we went the best part of 10 years without the capability.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  BB85

We had a lot of guys and girls embedded with US forces to keep skills alive.

I believe that flight training starts on a commercial simulator and early flying hours are done on commercial contracted platforms – to get used to the size of the thing.

Things then get a bit more specialist.

UK did for once buy unmodified COTS off an existing line.

You get speed of delivery and cost certainty that way, for sure.

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Have you heard of the “Seedcorn” program?

RAF crews have spent time with all of the Five Eyes partners.

Personnel have been trained over a long period of time by the RAAF, RCAF, RNZAF and USN.

Challenger
Challenger
2 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Roughly five and half years from signing the order to final delivery. Lightning fast by our usual standards!

Farouk
Farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  BB85

BB85 wrote: That didn’t take long did it. I take it all of the air crew where trained in the US if we went the best part of 10 years without the capability. Yup, we started sending crews over years before we even received the first P8, reason I know this is as I was tasked with organising army stands at the RAF Waddington airshows acouple of years on the trot 2013/14 and so I spent at least a week based nearby just prior to the event sorting out stuff (Accommodation/feeding passes/stands etc) so got to meet some interesting folks… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Farouk
Farouk
Farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

Funny enough I also came across this (note the number plate)comment image

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

What is it exactly.

All in one anti aircraft battery?

Sorry may be a stupid question as it is not a type that I am at all familiar with!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago

Hi SB,

This looks like the system in question. It is Soviet area – so knocking on a bit now.

That looks like a Herc in the background as well and the apparent British Army number plate suggests that we actually own that vehicle. 😉

Cheers CR

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I was very confused for all of those reasons.

The UK Army plate and what looked like a Soviet chassis when totally knocked me off course..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I suspect it is one of the training aides at Spadeadaam.

Thomas Mutch
Thomas Mutch
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

“AY” That’s an old RAF registration. Someones Dream mockup.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

SA 8 a beast of a weapon in it’s day!

Ambivalent Lurker
Ambivalent Lurker
2 months ago
Reply to  BB85

The initial RAF P8 crews were indeed trained in the US (not to be confused with the seedcorn operations that involved placing RAF personel with other MPA crews in the USN, RAN/RAAF and RNZAF among others to ensure that the knowledge base wasnt lost after Nimrod went out of service) but the key thing is that the instructors trained out there and are now based in the UK. AFAIK all the UK P8 crew training is now carried out at Lossie (120/201 Sqn) and Waddington (54Sqn)

Mr Mark Franks
Mr Mark Franks
2 months ago

Not even the bare minimum, Force capability and force projection will be a struggle to meet operationally. The Royal navy now has carriers, the Russians we are told time and again are a maritime threat to our undersea communications and not just us because a vast amount of comms for Europe comes through the UK. We are now committed to the Asia Pacfic region as well as the Middle East, how is it possible to provide the sort of cover Posiden provides with a fleet of 9 frames. At any one time we will be lucky If 6 out of… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Mark Franks

It’s pretty much a joint fleet with the Norwegian P8’s. Reading between the lines the RAF intend to introduce UAV’s to supplement the P8’s as with AEW and ELINT but the timeframe for that is not nailed down.

John Stevens
John Stevens
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Yes, I think Germany is also going for 5 aircraft like Norway and with USA Poseidon aircraft, you can see how important it is combining all our NATO resources.

Mr Mark Franks
Mr Mark Franks
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

There is a big difference between a UAV and the posiden. UAVs are intended to work alongside Posiden, not supplement them. Australia have been looking at Global hawks to patrol large swathes of ocean, does anyone know how far the Aussies have gone with this?

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Mark Franks

You are slightly wrong, here in Oz we haven’t procured USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk. What we have procured is the dedicated USN maritime version, MQ-4C Triton, which is specifically designed to operated hand in hand with the P-8A Poseidon. The requirement is for six airframes (plus one option) at this stage, currently there are three firm orders and the first is being manufactured. https://adbr.com.au/wing-fuselage-joined-on-first-australian-mq-4c-triton/ For the maritime role, the RAAF currently has 12 P-8A (plus two more on order), the in progress 6+1 option MQ-4C, and there are also firm plans for 12 MQ-9B that can be in either SkyGuardian… Read more »

Mark franks
Mark franks
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

Thanks for the update and correction John. This is the way forward and the UK really needs to follow Australia’s lead on this.

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark franks

Mate, it all comes down to dollars (or pounds), depending on which part of the world we are in.

Fortunately here in Oz, Defence is being very well funded by the Federal Government.

This financial year Defence spending is A$44.6b, spending is planned to increase annually and will reach A$73.7b for the 2030 financial year (theses expenditure figures were published by the Government in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update).

Cheers,

Mark franks
Mark franks
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

The UK government announced a £24 billion increase in defence spending over the next 10 years. Nothing seems to have come from it except concept studies on new equipment. The Navy look to be the big winners and the Air force to. We will see.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark franks

It gives me no pleasure to say it but the army is a basket case right now. Hopefully that will change but ….

Mark franks
Mark franks
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Politically the army shot its bolt, excuse the pun. 20 years fighting the war on terror the army top brass thought they had the defence budget in the bag and trod on a few toes in the process. No more standing army of old, but a rapidly mobile specialist force is actually the way we will fight wars in future, however its way too small. 18000 infantry is also insufficient and quite how the army gets out of this mess is anyone’s guess. Even in a high tech environment we still need boots.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark franks

I don’t think the Army has the faintest idea where it wants to be. Does it want to be heavy ? Challenger 3, Ajax and Boxer can’t be moved rapidly anywhere. Does it want to be rapidly deployable ? The Ranger Regiment ? The most depressing part of all for me is that i’m not convinced the Army thinks it’s even got a problem at all.

Mark franks
Mark franks
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

In a nutshell, well put David.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

Even more important it’s cross party as well. So no playing silly buggers from the opposition. On UAV’s i’d be pretty confident the RAF is paying close attention to how Triton works out in service alongside P8.

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

David, yes fortunately Defence in Oz does get bipartisan support from both the Right (LNP) and Left (ALP) major political parties.

And begrudgingly the ALP is also supporting the LNPs decision to procure SSNs, despite generally being ‘anti nuclear’.

As for Triton, the USN has been successfully operating a couple of early production airframes out of Guam for a while now, I believe the first couple of RAAF airframes will initially operate alongside the USN Triton until their new facilities are completed here in Oz.

Cheers,

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

Morning John. I watch AUS defence investment with jealously from across the ditch. Fortunately, NZ is also acquiring 4 P8s.

I admire how AUS defence spend is ring fenced (more or less) and not subject to party political cuts. It’s an intelligent approach to security

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Klonkie, mate, well I watch NZ Defence from my side of the ditch too, and it’s not always a pretty picture.

The rot really set in when Uncle Helen was in charge, and hasn’t got much better since.

I think you were lucky that in the last Parliament you had Ron Marks as Def Min and got the 4 x P-8A and 5 x C-130J projects through, but I still think you are a couple of airframes short for both types.

Cheers,

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

how right you are John! I do respect Ron Mark.
Stay safe Mate.

Heidfirst
Heidfirst
2 months ago

P-8 operated by both 120 & 201 Squadrons out of RAF Lossiemouth.

PAUL
PAUL
2 months ago

People keep on moaning about the fleet size but the plan seems to have always been to work with the other nations. Norway(5)/Germany(5)/UK(9). For a small country buly land size that doesn’t seem bad. Yes Australia has more but it’s a big old country taking pretty much 5 hours coast to coast.

Mr Mark Franks
Mr Mark Franks
2 months ago
Reply to  PAUL

It’s not moaning. It’s a question that has to be asked.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Mark Franks

The sea areas required to be monitored havn’t changed since the days when we had 40 odd Nimrud’s so how do 9 P8’s manage to square that circle? I might add that the Russian subs have become more capable over the last 10 years and the Pacific is now an area of interest for the UK- it wasn’t in the Nimrod days.. .. .

Mark franks
Mark franks
2 months ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

Precisely my point Alabama boy, as referred to above. Either we have sufficient capability or we don’t, its a false economy to say otherwise. Yes it’s in our interests to patrol the Northern approaches with the Norwegians.However as I have said we are now committed to the middle and far East. The Navies aircraft carriers need posiden patrolling the areas they sail in as do the hunter killers protecting the surface fleet. 9 airframes just do not cut the mustard.

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

It’s a little like the 72,000 selected for the Army, picked because that’s the number the Army is rapidly tumbling down to anyway!

Why 9 MPA’s? Because that’s the pre 2010 number of Nimrod MR4a’s we could afford for the available budget, as costs spiralled out of control.

Does 9 meet our current requirements, nope, will we get more? Depends on the 2025 defence review and if we can leverage into US Navy production lots by that point … When bulk US orders stop, the unit price will substantially increase.

Knight7572
Knight7572
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

there are 6 more P-8A Poseidon registrations unused atm

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Yep. Hoping….!

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Interesting, 15 would make a useful fleet, add Norway’s 5 and you have a useful capability…

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Good for pointing that out Knight. Here’s hoping 2022 is the year for a positive outcome! 1 or 2 more Wedgetail would be useful as well.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Maybe maybe not.

There are often agreed cost options in these contracts for further units with cliff edge dates.

More P8 would be the easiest way of boosting ASW.

We have done the hard part generating a decent sized nucleus and infrastructure. Adding on should be easier and more cost efficient.

John N
John N
2 months ago

Mate, when the UK published its Defence Review last year I had a good read of the documents. The RAF wanted 12 P-8A, but had to reduce to 9 because of budget, or should I say, lack of budget, not a reassessment of the requirement. And yes adding a few additional airframes is usually a relatively easy integration process, the infrastructure is already in place. India has added an additional 4 to the original 8, reportedly are looking at another 6 P-8I. Here in Oz, all 12 P-8A delivered, 2 more on order and an option on one more (but… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

AB, your comment is spot on! Refer my above reply to PAUL.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  PAUL

I can tell you from my experience as an ex Air Force operations officer, 9 is an inadequate force . Again, I will bang on about the 1990 peace dividend, the general narrative being we will require circa 50% force levels.

The RAF had 36 ASW Nimrods (4 or so dedicated to OCU), so half of 32 leaves a force of 16. To be fair, there is probably a case for better serviceability levels with the P8, so as ballpark (and I stress ballpark), probably 12 would suffice as a minimum.

Bob
Bob
2 months ago

Ten years, Cameron was a disaster for UK armed forces.

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob

Can’t argue with that Bob, he inherited an Armed forces hollowed out and just ripped the guts out of what was left, leaving us dangerously underequpped….

It will take a generation to repair the damage.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Bon and John – eighteen years ago, Blair was a disaster for UK armed forces. The rot set in at that point.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Apologies Bob – not Bon!

Bob
Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

No worries, I am prone to typos too 🙂

I expect more from a Tory PM though as they sell themselves as the party of strong defence.

Iain Anderson
Iain Anderson
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

The problems started with Major who couldn’t wait to dump capacity. Blair was intent on “Peace at any price” in Ulster and gutted the forces. Cameron just came along and followed the LibDems desire to remove any and all capability we had left. Don’t even mention Johnson, he doesn’t know when he’s in the middle of a party. We only have to look at history, of which I am a keen student. The British Armed forces have been caught out in every conflict since 1880. Events occur, the government thinks the country is still the nation of Empire when it… Read more »

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob

And Tony Blair wasnt?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
2 months ago
Reply to  James

The problem was more that Tony Blair wanted to fight lots of wars.

Gordon Brown didn’t want to pay for new equipment so he could ‘invest’ in public sector.

So kicking the cans down the road as much as possible berthed the T23 lack of replacement(s) and the Astute fiasco as he didn’t want to start any new sub building programs.

So it was skills fade central.

With the one glowing exception of the QEC program which did regenerate a lot of ship building skills.

T45 was also, in all fairness, started very late by New Labour

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  James

see my above reply to Bob and John. It wasn’t just the 2004 cuts either. They cut several more RAF Tornado sqns from 2008 onward.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Correct.

Bob
Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  James

Well he wasn’t good either, but as I said above, I expect more from a Tory PM.

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

I’d be interested to hear commentary from ex Nimrod drivers .crews as to weather nine P8s are adequate,

Stc
Stc
2 months ago

Seems to me the MOD did this very quickly once they decided. Makes a massive change to the norm. I wonder if this asset was obtained within budget ?

Angus
Angus
2 months ago

Well something is better than nothing but the number is far too small and a second batch of similar number would be welcome which would also help fill the gap of the loss of 5 Sqn’s Sentinels which were a real asset but like most of our kit was never updated to keep it at the front. Sad to say but God help us if we really had to fight………..