When the first Royal Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft arrives in the UK it will be ready to fly with a UK crew on day one thanks in part to a team of RAF personnel embedded with the US Navy, say the Royal Air Force.

Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland is home to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX-1), a U.S. Navy unit which has within its ranks eight RAF personnel supporting the P-8A test programme.

Squadron Leader John Ryder is one of two RAF pilots serving on the squadron. He said:

“We’re fully embedded in the P-8A Test and Evaluation process, which drives incremental improvements and updates to the USN’s frontline fleet.

Specifically we’re focussed on Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E),  a process mandated by the US Congress. During OT&E we assess the aircraft’s effectiveness and suitability for operations but we also assist with Developmental Test & Evaluation, which verifies that technical performance specifications have been met.  Therefore, since 2012 VX-1’s RAF team have been a core component in making a state of the art aircraft even more capable. 

Consequently, by the time the UK’s first aircraft leaves the Boeing production line, it’s going to be an extremely versatile and well proven platform.”

The Squadron is also responsible for developing tactics according to the RAF website, an experience the RAF personnel will bring back to the UK. Sqn Ldr Ryder:

“I flew numerous anti-submarine warfare serials on P-8A from Scotland during Exercise Joint Warrior in 2012 and the aircraft did the business. From that point onward, P-8A has only got better.

More importantly we’re going to have current, proficient and experienced RAF personnel ready to operate a UK flagged P-8A the moment we get it. In fact, US Seedcorn has achieved more than 15,000 hours on the aircraft already, with many operators having over 1000 hours each.”

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Helions

NATO needs to buy a pool of these as they did the E3s IMO.

Aloha!

Andy G

And a pool of QE carriers too.
Aloha!

Helions

Also, a pool of Mai Tai’s!

:D:D:D

andy reeves

we wish. as long as they’re up there soon to show corbyn’s mate putin what we can do to his fleet with these

andyreeves

good acquisition, not to be wasted.

Daniele Mandelli

All good but the delivery rate. Years until we have our complement.

David

Absolutely Daniele – 10yrs for 9 aircraft??? Why?

Dave simpson

Because the money was found from the DE&S Project contingency funds forvthec10 year procurement plan out to 2025 in SDSR15. There’s only so much available per year so that means incremental acquisition. It also meant only 9 could be bought in this first tranche when the RAF knows it needs at least 15 in the end. If the contingency funds hadn’t been used then no purchase would have happened at all.

David

Hi Dave,

Thank you for the explanation. Our procurement methodology just seems so messed up!

Sceptical Richard

Cause we haven’t got the money. Same as T26 – eight years to build one ship and then one ship every two to three years!

andyreeves

when it comes to building u.k asetts the rate is always too slow

Jack

You can’t buy new aircraft one day and put them into service the day after.
The aircrew and ground crew need to be trained, new support structures for supplies, spares, weapons etc need to be put in place as well as new build infrastructure.
The armchair warriors on here are deluded.

Bryan Evans

Did you actually read the article?

Helions

If there was a large enough buy between NATO members, the aircraft could be assembled in Europe since it’s a program that will stretch for years. Does the UK have facilities large enough to do so?

Julian1

There is the Boeing plant at Boscombe Down – its a massive site so I would imagine yes. That said, UK has not assembled aircraft of this size since Nimrod MR4 (I know its not that big)

Steven

And that went well

Julian1

assembly is different to design and development. besides, it would be proven kit built by boeing engineers and plant

Frank

The assembly was never at fault. The design was.

Douglas Newell

I’d argue it was the pre-design phase that was where the problems were, it would have been much cheaper just to build a new fuselage for the spanking new wings.

Daniele Mandelli

Boeing site at Boscombe Down? I know that airfield well I don’t recall any such thing. Maybe proposed?

Levi Goldsteinberg

I also question this. I’m very local to the area and I know of no such thing. Qinetiq is the only industry based there

Daniele Mandelli

That’s right Levi. Them and varied MoD and RAF units involved in T&E.

Fascinating airfield with good views off that little road off the 303.

Mark

Boeing are looking to invest in the site, or so it is rumoured, I believe it has more to do with Apache than P8 with the creation of a major European maintenance hub.

Julian1

Strong plan, the entire conversation is hyperthetical (as usual with this web site)

David E Flandry

Marshall Aerospace has worked on 757s and L1011s. They should be able to handle a P-8.

Sceptical Richard

Marshall are the only ones who could do it, unless you bring in BAES or Airbus, both unlikely. Even Marshall would struggle. Depends how much ‘local’ assembly we’re talking about. Not a good idea. Costly, slow and risky. We need about 12 aircraft and we need them sooner, but we simply haven’t got the money…

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Andrew R

What’s the time scale on the first one being in service? Massive capability gap, need it sorted as soon as….

Steven

See what David said in a comment above, SMH.

Andrew R

Obviously being a bit thick but when is it in service and operational?

Julian1

is that a real RAF airframe or is it just photo-shopped?

Mark

Photo shop, I think our first two airframes will be delivered next year but it will be a few years before we have enough aircraft and trained personnel for an operational squadron.

Jonathan

I would imagine that the procurement timeframe is also stretched due to avaliablity of crew and training times. Theory on gaining mastery from a novice state for a complex skill set is five years, you also need to staff the training pipline with experts, if we have the expert crews for one cab and say the ability to generate a couple of crews every few years with a skill mix of expert intermediates and novice we can see that there would be little point in having 10 cabs in a short time frame. Never forget that the Human factor is… Read more »

Gerry

Wow! Permanent member of security council can fly a single plane when it arrives……. Russia must be petrified.

Daniele Mandelli

Why are you only counting a single capability?

Or were you just shit stiring?

Mr J Bell

Really depressing that it is going to take us until 2025 to get 9 aircraft into service and close a capability gap that should never have been allowed to occur. Utter bungling incompetence, mismanagement and stupidity. There should have been an upfront loading for the full 9 aircraft to be purchased under UOR (to protect the strategic nuclear deterrent and screen deterrent subs entering and leaving port) Instead we get an anaemic purchase from an MOD utterly out of touch and with no grasp on strategic importance of MPAs. Do not even get me started on the political spin doctors… Read more »

Chris

Mr J Bell – Just remember where this country was economically in 2010 and the reasons why we had to abandon certain military assets and I think any fair person would not call it ‘bungling incompetence’ but ‘fiscal necessity’. Indeed possibly ‘fiscal survival’. Just look where we have come in 8 years and the huge amount of new and very capable kit coming into service.

sjb1968

Chris if you believe that the country was broke and had to cut its military assets can you explain why the same PM was so keen to start another war in Libya and tried to get us involved in Syria. He and Osborne did irreparable damage to the RN and were totally out of their depth. You do not run your military by having fire sales that achieve nothing and the so called black hole in the MOD books is still with us eight years later.

SoleSurvivor

‘fiscal necessity’ And “fiscal survival” Not quite, austerity, cutting budgets, cutting staff etc etc is not the only way to get out of financial difficulty, especially when it’s a country with the 5th largest economy, a strong currency like sterling, triple A credit rating and a financial institution like the Bank of England behind you, imo there needed to be a balance of balancing the books and stimulus. It was purely a political decision taken in 2010 by Osbourne, another politician with a different ideology would of ran the economy differently without cutting so much, increasing the debt but using… Read more »

Geoffrey Roach

Not a bad rant!

Daniele Mandelli

Great post Sole.

Slaine

You clearly have no idea what caused the financial crisis or that this administration have borrowed at least twice that it’s the previous lot did.

SoleSurvivor

Probably one of the many conservative supporters who believe and try peddle that the British Labour Party caused the global financial crisis

Geoffrey Roach

Not true. UK spending deficit 2010 £103 billion… 2018 £2 billion so reduced by £101 billion. Whatever your politics that’s a fact.

SoleSurvivor

Slaine is talking about the amount borrowed not the deficit.

The government since 2010 has borrowed more and grown the national debt more than any government in 70 years.

Although you are right the deficit has been reduced.

Chris

Interesting that while I not once mentioned Labour, or laid any blame as to who caused what before 2010, and was trying to provide context on why certain decisions were made our Leftie friend had to make it a political row. And then make deliberately misleading statements about borrowing. Quite how the Cobynomic experts seem to think that we could have completely removed a £100+ Bn a year deficit in 2010 / 11 to zero and thereby not have borrowed any more money beats me. Oh and of course then also pumped £ Bns into the UK economy … by… Read more »

Chris

*friends*

Geoffrey Roach

Government borrowing 2010….£147 billion….2017….£48 billion.

SoleSurvivor

It’s not a “row” Chris, just open and friendly debate. “Quite how the Cobynomic experts seem to think that we could have completely removed a £100+ Bn a year deficit in 2010 / 11 to zero and thereby not have borrowed any more money beats me.” Like I said in first post, there is strong argument that a stimulus policy after we came out of the recession instead of austerity could of started rapid GDP growth therefore reducing the deficit faster, which would of led to less borrowing overall. Either way we are nearly in a budget surplus finally then… Read more »

Andrew Poulton

Continued borrowing, when austerity was introduced was ALWAYS going to be a fact of life. The continued growth of national debt was not a surprise, it was programmed in to the system and could not be reversed immediately. That’s why we had the austerity program. UK national debt was fuelled by the deficit – the difference between income and expenditure. We were (and still are) spending far more than we earn and so, like household finances, spending more than you earn simply grows the debt. The goal of austerity was (and still is) to reduce the deficit. By reducing the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Agree wholeheartedly.

I’d arrest more than just Cameron and Osborne too.

However it is a valid point made further up that without the crews they might just be sitting on the ramp.

Andy G

2025 is shaping up to be a hell of a year!

Sceptical Richard

Good point Andy. Everybody who flies, sails or trundles through the mud is promising wonderful things by 2023/25. Feels to me like the typical “it’s all going to be ok on the day and I won’t be around any more by then so I don’t care, but it gets me out of jail now, which is all that matters for my career and pension…”

T.S

Can anyone with the current knowledge, how many do we really need to have to provide adequate provision? Can we cope with less due to increases in tech?

David E Flandry

One aircraft can only be in one place at a time. Originally there were going to be 21 Nimrod 4s, then 18, then 16, then 12, then 9, and then there were none. All the cuts were budget driven. There are more submarines in the sea than at any time in the world. You need 3 a/c to cover the Norway-Scotland-Iceland-Greenland gaps alone. Ok Norway can do one of those, you still need 2. That’s just for the north. The RAF CAS has stated 12 aircraft are needed.

Andy G

You have to include Norways 5 and the US’s how ever many. Its pointless to think in non-coalition terms now.

sjb1968

Andy you are right on many issues on here but you have to differentiate between capabilities essential for UK defence and what we then want to use in coalition actions. MPAs are definitely in the former and will I’m sure increase in numbers beyond 9 over time.

PKCasimir

Why in the world should the US and Norway provide P-8s to police the waters around the UK? If the UK has the funds to provide free health care for its citizens and massive amounts of foreign aid, then it has the funds to defend the waters around its shores and stop being a parasite on the United States.

SoleSurvivor

Waters around the UK? We’re not talking about the EEZ you numpty, Greenland, Iceland UK gap? Quite a large area and a strategically important one for Russian subs entering the Atlantic. Our Navy was engineered to hunt subs in that gap for most of the Cold War and let other capabilities fall behind because of it. If the US can afford to have 6 fleets covering the globe constantly, being at war in 2 continents for over a decade, having a defence budget bigger than the 9 below combined then surely they can spare a few planes to help close… Read more »

Sjb1968

Good thing you two are not responsible for Anglo-US relations.

PKCasimir

Good grief! Talk about sounding like a spoiled teenager! You even write like one. Yes parasite. The UK was in stalemate with Germany in WW1 until the US entered the war. It would have been defeated if not for US intervention. I know that sticks in your British craw but it’s a fact. That intervention was one of the worst mistakes in US history engineered by the totally incompetent Woodrow Wilson. The only strategy the UK had after declaring war on the Third Reich was to hope and pray that the US would enter the war to save the UK”s… Read more »

Chris

(Chris H) PKCasimir – There is one thing that has totally amazed me in my long life (71 this year) and that is an American’s ability to completely re-write history relying on Hollywood as the reference. The added amazement is how the ‘We Saved Your Arses’ comment is invariably thrown in after the slightest criticism of US policy or action. The fact remains that the USA entered WWI just as the Fat Lady was rehearsing ‘God Save The King’ and given it arrived more than 3 years after the start of a 4 year war there is the stench of… Read more »

Chris

Only one set of countries fought in every theatre in all parts of the globe for the whole of the 6 years of WWII:

The UK and its Commonwealth – For example Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India etc

Not Germany

Not Japan

Not China

Not Russia

And certainly NOT the USA.

Historical fact not Hollywood Yank bullcrap. If you aren’t there fighting the fight for all the fight you cannot claim real victory. You are an opportunist arriving late to collect the spoils of war….

SoleSurvivor

Couldn’t of put it any better myself Chris.

Well done on handing this idiot his arse.

There is usually two types of American that comment on here, the delusional kind that think they singlehandedly saved the world in two world wars and have been spreading peace and democracy keeping the world safe since WW2, and the respectful kind who comment with grace and understand and acknowledge their allies and their own strengths and weaknesses.

This plant pot is certainly the former.

Elliott

You mean in WW1 when the Ludendorff Spring offensives broke through the British and French lines? The only thing that prevented a Dunkirk in 1918 was the arrival of the US Army and Marine Corps at Seicheprey, Chemin des Dames, and Belleau Wood. Had it not been the continued arrival of American men and material the Hundred Days Offensive would not have been possible. As the allies would not have been able to replenish themselves in time to take advantage of the weakened German Army and Austria-Hungarian Armies. Over 40% of all Entente military expenditure in WW1 was spent on… Read more »

SoleSurvivor

And another fine example.

Andy A

No but we should put defence spending back up to reasonable amount. The USA at least spends a decent % of gdp, like we used too.

Chris

(Chris H) – Elliott I can always rely on you to eloquently prove my points about the arrogance and ignorance of some, repeat some, Americans two of whom we have had in this Thread. Sadly those ‘some’ Americans tend to be the loudest and most ignorant. I won’t take your various bits of ignorance apart, like the laughable comment about not needing Tizzard technology like jet engines and Magnetron radar (which you did NOT have) as its too easy. Like your nonsense about Monty causing supplies shortages? Eisenhower preferred a broad-front strategy. He gave some priority to Montgomery’s northern forces.… Read more »

Elliott

Once again a Brit who loves to take credit for the efforts of Australian, Indian and New Zealand troops. Hell even taking credit for Chinese efforts. Despite the fact the British General alongside his opposite number in the RN managed to lose Singapore and 2 BBs one modern with barely a whimper. Worsening a situation made terrible by Britain moving the Australian troops to Africa. Jungle fighting? Apparently you have forgotten General McArthur, General Stilwell later General Wedemeyer’s campaigns. General Eisenhower did not want so many British officers around him. They were by his own admission a political necessity. Because… Read more »

Chris

(Chris H) Elliott – As usual you distort what was said to score some inane point. I never ever decried, nor would I, what the members of our Commonwealth did you lying moron. Here are my exact words from 12.23 yesterday. Your attention span is even worse than the average Yank: “Only one set of countries fought in every theatre in all parts of the globe for the whole of the 6 years of WWII: The UK and its Commonwealth – For example Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India etc” My last word in this has to be about… Read more »

Jack Wyatt

For those singing Rule Britannia, forget it. The US entry into WW1 resulted in victory.

WW2 well there was Libya, Greece, Crete, Tobruk, Alamein, Singapore, the NEI and the RAAF Squadrons in the UK during the Battle of Britain. In the end it didn’t matter, because it was the US who saved Australia from the Japanese. Australians will never forget this fact.

Elliott

Golly gee a YouTube video! I bow to it’s authority. NOT. I’m certain I will take their analysis over that of the US Army and Naval War colleges. The historical records of the US Army and USN hold the presses need to be changed due to YouTube. Oh wait the records show most American supplies came over the beach and the Mulberry Harbours provided less than half the total amount of supplies than came over the beach for the ENTIRE operation.

Really you think calling me an American Patriot is an insult? Only a Marxist would find that an insult.

Chris

(Chris H) elliott – I take it you didn’t actually watch it then? Maybe because it was a detailed documentary made years before YouTube existed with evidence from the people who designed and built it and then operated it. Because something is on YouTube does not lessen its value. But of course you are in total denial and so resort to cheap sarcasm and a blinkered view where you won’t even see any other evidence. Well jog on Yank I think you have proved adequately the unbelievable arrogance and ignorance of some, repeat some. Americans. Same shit different day from… Read more »

Steve

What i don’t understand is why we didn’t push for having 1 plane now. Only one plane would seem at first glance as not very useful, but it would give us the option to deploy should needed and if an ally was not able/willing to cover us. At the same time,it would provide training for the crews, that would be needed once the larger fleet was ready.

I guess the service / maintenance costs would make this impractical, but just a thought.

Sceptical Richard

The support infrastructure footprint and associated logistics train are not in place yet… Look at the investment Marham has had before the first F-35 even shows up over the horizon. I know what this is like from the work we had to do at Brize Norton to bring Voyager and Atlas on board.

Bill Edmead

This is precisely why our procurement agency and the MOD are so befuddled and hopeless in identifying even current and potential future threats. To suggest a 10 year programme to provide 9 aircraft is because of budget constraints is ridiculous! But that is where we are! Cameron at a stroke cut our maritime patrol/anti submarine capabilty that will take 20 years to reinstate. For an island nation that is a crime bordering on treason, so vulnerable did that leave us as to be reliant on other nations. France would NEVER allow itself to he placed in that position. F35-20 year… Read more »

Andy G

Nonsense, its a nice steady buy rate, which will lead to a nice steady upgrade rate and a nice steady replacement rate.

Julian

I agree with Andy. I guess most of us following this site would prefer it to be a bigger nice steady buy rate but, when you also factor in the fact that F-35 all variants are still in LRIP so still following a downward curve on unit price the U.K. F-35B program seems well managed. You (Bill) are blaming exactly the wrong people in the case of F-35B and possibly P-8A as well. It’s not the MoD or procurement agency at fault here, they actually seem to me to be doing a fairly good job with the cards they have… Read more »

Julian

In fairness you (Bill) do blame the government later. I just think in the specific case of F-35 it’s unfair to blame the MoD & procurement agency. They can only work with what government allocates to them.

Chris

Bill – So you like to hang people with whom you disagree politically?

ts an iInteresting hypothesis so can I therefore add Mr Blair, Mr Brown and possibly ‘Jezzah’ to the queue waiting for the hangman?

Did Cameron take us into an illegal war?

Did Cameron fabricate a dossier to mislead Parliament?

Did Cameron allow us to take part in ‘Rendition’ of innocent people to Libya to grease the palms of oil companies?

Did Cameron or Clegg or Hammond the then Foreign Secretary mislead the Commons over said Rendition?

Be very careful for what you wish …..

Daniele Mandelli

Lol

Bill

Steady as she goes Cap’n!

Rob

The buy rate is too slow and 9 isn’t enough but the good news is that we are regaining the MPA capabilities. Throwing more money at it isn’t feasible so best to focus on other priorities such as the T31, recruitment and retention rates.

Pacman27

It’s a really interesting discussion once again. Politics aside I believe where the MOD has really let down our combat troops is in getting good kit into their hands at a steady drumbeat. We are now spending far too much on life extension programmes for out of date assets and do not seem to have a really good strategy. I am really disappointed that Nick Carter got the top job as he is symptomatic of all this. What has he delivered, what is a strike brigade, how many goes has he had at it. I have a strong preference for… Read more »

Sceptical Richard

Guys, you’re all right, but let’s not be too harsh on ourselves. Look at the RAF: the most up to date and versatile air lift capability of any Air Force in the world. Best air refuelling tanker in the world. Full and most comprehensive multi spectrum ISTAR fleet (once P-8 arrives). Best ground attack capability, as good as any other, with Tornado, soon to be replaced with full air to ground capability on Typhoon (with Paveway, Brimstone, Storm Shadow). Best interceptor capability with Typhoon with ASRAAM, AMRAAM and Meteor plus CAPTOR-E soon. Introduction of F-35B well underway. Highly capable helicopter… Read more »

Pacman27

Fair point SR

Chris

I am more than happy to fully agree with everything you have written. As for numbers we are an island nation of 65 Mn people, we have no global territorial ambitions (good) and do not wish to be the ‘World’s Policeman’ any more. We have a very good military capability, one of the best in the world by a big margin despite what the naysayers wish the truth to be, and it is, or soon will be, more than sufficient for the defence of our Nation.

Oscar Zulu

Some big statements there Richard. “The most up to date and versatile air lift capability of any Air Force in the world.” I assume you mean apart from the USAF? The RAF has no capability to match the 210 tonne payload of a C5M for instance. The RAAF has the same number of C7 Globemasters as the RAF, while at the other end of the spectrum the RAF has no capability to match the RAAFs C27J ‘battlefield airlifters’ that can land where a Hercules can’t. “Best air refuelling tanker in the world.” If only the RAF’s A330s also were capable… Read more »

Sceptical Richard

OZ, as soon as I posted I thought about the RAAF… I take all of your points. In my defence I did say “after the US…” Yes the RAAF is mighty impressive and very cleverly specified their KC-30s with a boom. RAF mightily regrets not having done the same. Personally, I don’t think much of the C27J, but you guys (assuming you are Australian?) probably can make good use of it in your geography. The RAF’s A400Ms are already capable of operating from more challenging airstrips than the C130J, and it’s not a fully developed capability yet. Yes our E3Ds… Read more »

Oscar Zulu

Australia has some skin in the game and has been a development partner with the US on the P8 for over a decade. A total of $5 billion has been invested in the P-8A and MQ-4C programmes to date. Jun 2007 RAAF commits $150 million to jointly develop the platform with USN Dec 2011 further $100 million for development Oct 2012 another $73.9 million for development Feb 2014 Australian government approves acquisition of 8 P-8A for $4 billion Jul 2016 a further 4 P8As approved 2016 Defence White Paper commits to further 3 P8As but yet to be contracted (total… Read more »

Sceptical Richard

I like to see that, unlike us, you don’t take capability ‘holidays’

Paul.P

Nice program. How did the Harpoon testing go? What version of the missile is fitted?

Nigel Collins

Lets hope they get the OT&E phase completed in time for the F35b departure on board the QE carriers.
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/01/30/f35_dote_report_software_snafus/

Bill

Chris, l was being slightly facetious but that obviously went whizzing by you. My point is that under the coalition and Tory governments the basic strength of our armed forces has been reduced to parlous levels which lays firmly at the door of ‘call me Dave’. While he basked in the fulsome praise of Bill Gates for his (our) benevolence with our overseas ‘aid’ budget he reduced the army’s offensive capability by a third. C2’s, AH64′, AS90’s. Just look at how many of these weapons were produced and how many remain in service. In mothballs does not mean in service… Read more »

Chris

Bill – I thought it was sarcasm – I was making the point that there are many more who have done far worse things to and with our military. To blame the inheritors of the situation in 2010 (and here again I cast no previous blame or reasons for that situation) for having to make the decisions they did is very blinkered. And possibly political. You forget it was a Coalition Government formed out of the dire situation this country was in. Now I am no admirer of the LibDems but they did this country a service by working across… Read more »

Sceptical Richard

Chris, I have to agree with most of what you say. Bill, you are correct in pointing out how the 2010 SDSR decimated our armed forces, but my point is that it wasn’t Cameron, Osborne, MOD or even DE&S that made the decision to cut all the things that were cut – it was the Chiefs of Staff who did. They were merely given financial targets to meet. It was they who decided where the axe fell. It was they who decided on the capability holidays. They did this willingly. Not a single one of them resigned resigned. They only… Read more »

Bill

Given financial targets to meet which they then did. By whom?! All academic now but SDR 2010 will continue to plague our armed forces for a long time to come. Gutless Chiefs is one provision that will always be ring fenced. All comments gratefully noted!