Have you ever wondered how the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft fleet deals with the corrosion caused by saltwater?

The information came to light after a written question was submitted in Parliament.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, asked via a written Parliamentary question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether there is a dedicated saltwater washdown facility or capability at RAF Lossiemouth for the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, replied:

“The Post-Flight Rinse Facility at RAF Lossiemouth for the Poseidon MRA1 uses fresh water to rinse salt spray from aircraft after completing the last flight of the day to prevent salt corrosion on the aircraft skin.

Additionally, separate facilities are available to provide a full external wash of the Poseidon aircraft as part of the standard maintenance regime for the aircraft.”

On their website, the Royal Air Force say that Boeing’s Poseidon MRA1 (P-8A) is 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.

“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.”

The UK plans to operate a fleet of 9 of these aircraft, 5 have already been delivered.

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Fen Tiger
Fen Tiger
21 days ago

Nip down to the Car Wash in Elgin’.

Andy P
Andy P
20 days ago
Reply to  Fen Tiger

Must be boys on jankers that could give it a dhoby.

col
col
21 days ago

Yell at it.

captain p wash
captain p wash
21 days ago

Ermm, hang on, I know this one…… Wash It ?  🙄 

Branaboy
Branaboy
21 days ago

UK should have purchased the Kawasaki P1 (much better maritime patrol aircraft to P8) and used as the basis for various airborne electronic platforms such as AWACs, Sentinel, and even future Joint Rivet type aircraft. Also would make a good bomber (arsenal ship) for permissible environment conflict zones like the Sahel, Afghanistan and even Iraq and Syria ( with standoff weapons). This would also have helped entice the Japanese to become part of team Tempest. Over a 30 year period I project the Uk would have bought at least 2 dozen of these platforms. I don’t see the UK investing… Read more »

dan
dan
21 days ago
Reply to  Branaboy

How is the P-1 better? Specifics pls. Also what is the cost of a P-1 compared to the P-8? Btw, can the P-1 carry the advanced AESA radar under it’s belly like the US P-8s have?

Deep32
Deep32
21 days ago
Reply to  dan

Got to agree with @Branaboy on this. The P-1 was specifically designed as a ASW aircraft able to operate at low altitudes much like the Nimrod, which solves the dropping of stores issue the P-8 had to overcome.
It’s also equipped with a AESA radar that gives 360 deg coverage, which isn’t a under belly fit.
The only draw back is its cost, but, that’s more down to volume of sales, or rather lack of them. We locked at it post Nimrod but in the end chose the P-8.

Deep32
Deep32
21 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Try ‘looked’ !!!

bikerthai
bikerthai
21 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

The P-8A has it own nose radar for general search (including periscope). True it does not have 360 coverage.

The AAS radar is for land warfare – distinguish tanks, trucks, bad guys in SUV etc.

Deep32
Deep32
19 days ago
Reply to  bikerthai

Wasn’t implying that P-8 hasn’t got a good radar fit, or isn’t a capable aircraft, just that the P-1 is a specifically designed ASW Aircraft, so, doesnt have as many compromises/work around to function.
As you say in your other post. p-8 airframe is also used for Wedgetail, so commanality between assets.

bikerthai
bikerthai
18 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Agreed that the 737 frame is a compromise. But even a dedicated designing the P-1 is a result of compromise.

The real asset in either design is the ability (how easy it is) to upgrade the electronic hardware as the frame ages.

When the MOD decided on the P-8A vs the P-1 one factor would be how often will the hardware and software gets updated. With the P-8A they will rely on the US Navy to foot the bill for the development work. I doubt the Japanese Navy will improve the P-1 as much or as often.

bt

Deep32
Deep32
18 days ago
Reply to  bikerthai

Wouldn’t disagree with that, expect the cost of any upgrades will be significantly cheaper with the larger user base of the P-8, probably all had a role to play in the final selection of airframe.

Netking
Netking
20 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Which dropping of stores issue are you referring to, if you don’t mind?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
20 days ago
Reply to  Netking

If it drops from high, the torpedo wont splash at a close enough distance to home in on the sub. Torpedo parachutes are just drogues or stabilisers to stop the thing tumbling in the air and to ensure the correct angle of water entry. They don’t slow the torpedo down at all . To get around that the MK54 ( Mk50 front end on a Mk46 back end) has a Longshot winged glider kit attached to it so that it can fly the torpedo to a gps coordinate to release the torpedo at low altitude.Great idea and it will save… Read more »

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
20 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

MK-54 is crap indeed. I know a thing or two about it which i cannot repeat here as I’m not sure it’s public knowledge. But take it from me, it’s crap. We were forced into buying it because of the Longshot kit. Also question marks about P-8 radar. Very good radar no doubt, but has no 360 coverage and however good it might be (special modes), projecting on the sea surface at a high angle of incidence will make it more problematic detecting small periscopes at shorter ranges. It’s simple physics. Also not sure whether we can use UK stock… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
20 days ago

Hi Richard, There have been many comments on here about the MK54 and none of them positive in the slightest. Your comments regarding the P8 also suggest that much of the UK’s top end ASW kit is not compatible with the off the shelf P8. Whilst having the P8 is a big improvement on nothing I think that arguement has been used behind closed doors to cuts integration costs. The worry I have is that the next step will be to forgo our sono buoy tech and torpedoes in favour of cheaper US systems. On the plus side we have… Read more »

James M
James M
20 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Wasn’t the idea to start off with US kit to get them up and running and then eventually switch to our own torpedos and sonobuoys?

I’d guess that got canned for budget reasons.

bikerthai
bikerthai
19 days ago
Reply to  James M

If the UK torpedoes will fit into the P-8A bomb bay, it could be easily handled by the stores management computer. Whether it could be dropped at high altitude is a different matter. Integration UK hardware into the P-1 would cost as much. Again flying at low altitude is is a double edge sword. You only fly low to take a closer look or to drop torpedoes or sonorous. Most of the time you are searching at medium altitude in order to have a larger radar search radius. If you do not have to drop down low to release your… Read more »

Netking
Netking
20 days ago

I believe the radar being referred to here is the AN/APS-154. It’s one of the usn most jealously guarded assets and up to now it seems almost certain that they will not sell to any other country.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
20 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi Gunbuster, I do not think that the Sting Ray will ever be intergrated onto the P8. Like you I thought this was a foolish mistake especially given the development of the Mod 1 which is now underway. However, it seems that the UK is going to develop the Future Lightweight Torpedo. It was in its pre-concept phase in 2019 / 20 and there are a number BAE Systems pictures of a mockup of the weapon, but no more detail as yet. So we will probably be stuck with the MK54 until I would think / hope the new torpedo… Read more »

Netking
Netking
20 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Thank you for the explanation GB

JohnH
JohnH
19 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

The wings on the P8 are high altitude optimised (ie airliner wings with a swept leading and training edge). The P1 has higher are wings optimised to be able to fly low and slow (swept leading edge, straight trailing edge, with higher area allowing better maneuverability). Thus allowing conventional tactics and delivery of ordanance. The P8 required new tactics & delivery systems because of the wings. The P1 is also a 4 engine design that allows for idling 2 engines to increase loiter time, unlike the P8 The P1 also has a magnetometer integrated for sub hunting because it can… Read more »

bikerthai
bikerthai
19 days ago
Reply to  JohnH

The magnetometer is an option on the P-8A which the US Navy chose not to buy as the US Navy believe their acoustic sensor works better against titanium hull subs anyway.

The India chose to include the magnetometer as can be seen on their P-8I’s.

Deep32
Deep32
20 days ago
Reply to  Netking

@GB beat me to it. As he points out they have it sorted now. The P-1 not being based on a civil airliner, and having a ‘thicker wing’ is able to operate at low altitudes where the air is denser, so can release it’s weapons at a much lower altitude.
Jet engines flying at low altitudes aren’t really detected by SMs unless almost ‘on top’, so they have a small advantage over helicopters or prop driven ASW aircraft.

bikerthai
bikerthai
21 days ago
Reply to  Branaboy

Like dan said, the P-8A is already be able to carry the AAS radar that is developed to take up the Rivet Joint mission. How much would it cost to develop the same for the P-1? The P-8A has two engines, that leave room on the wing for additional weapons to the ones that can be fitted in the bomb bay. With the P-8A you will have access to US Navy arsenal. With the P-1, not so much. Just because the P-8A operates better at altitude, it does not mean it can not drop to 200 ft to do a… Read more »

bikerthai
bikerthai
21 days ago
Reply to  Branaboy

Oh also, the 737 platform will be common with the 3 Wedgetail frame the UK is buying

Nick C
Nick C
21 days ago

Back when we were still flying Wasps from frigates it was a heck of a lot of WD40. Much of the structure was aluminium and magnesium alloys, the flight always joked that if it got too salty you could hear it fizzing.
in reply to Branaboy, you are so right. But that would have required a huge amount of long term thinking from the MOD and the politicos, and we all know how good they are at that.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
20 days ago
Reply to  Nick C

Wash it in freshers, do a comp wash and spray PX 24 everywhere.

Mark
Mark
21 days ago

How low does the p8 operate? Surly as it’s just a commercial airliner with a few senors fitted and a bomb bay it would not operate as such low level as to come into close contact with sea spray so dads karacher to give it a wash down should suffice?

Julian1
Julian1
21 days ago
Reply to  Mark

That’s what I was thinking. I understand you may get salt water suspended in air above the ocean up to x meters or whatever but I wouldn’t have thought it would need special facilities. Live and learn

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
21 days ago
Reply to  Julian1

I believe their Ski’s kick up a fair amount of Salty stuff every time they take off and land…… Another reason why we should have had Cat’s and Traps…….

lee1
lee1
20 days ago
Reply to  Captain P Wash

How would that help the P8s?

Captain P Wash
Captain P Wash
21 days ago
Reply to  Mark

If I knew what “Senors and Karachers” were, I guess I’d agree mate…..  😂 

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
21 days ago

9 P8’s still aren’t enough for a credible ASW capability. At least 20 aircraft required.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
20 days ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

Hi JJ, kind of related, there’s a lot of P8 assets in Lossiemouth in what looks like one humungous shed…so I hope this busy airfield has top notch Sky Sabre protecting it! If they did expand the fleet I wonder if they would locate another 3-6+ P8s somewhere else in the UK as you wouldn’t want all your AEW/ASW eggs in the one airfield basket! Would you? I’m happy to hear different opinions on this.

Fen Tiger
Fen Tiger
20 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Suspect the Norwegian P8s’ and Crews will be using the facilities at the shed’. A joint use’ shed ?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
19 days ago
Reply to  Fen Tiger

The “Shed end” ? LOL. That facility is some shed!

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
19 days ago

And a bloody big target! Lol.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
20 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Could start re-using St Mawgan to cover the SW Approaches

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
19 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

has top notch Sky Sabre protecting it!”

Not that I’m aware of. The RAF Regiment got rid of their SAM capability years ago and British Army use of Rapier FSC, and Sky Sabre, as far as I’m aware is for use on the battlefield, not static defending UK installations.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
19 days ago

That is kind of suggesting that there is no SAM defence of any UK air bases happening then? Isn’t that a huge risk even in peace time? Not that a “Pearl Harbour” type attack could happen again but a surprise attack by any forces especially with sub launched cruise missiles could. I find it hard to believe the RAF has no SAMs and is there such a thing as a RN equivalent? The RN Naval bases should have some fall back SAM ability. It’s worse case scenario and others have mentioned it before, considering we have the huge RAF Fylingdales… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
19 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Hi Quentin “That is kind of suggesting that there is no SAM defence of any UK air bases happening then” Not on a permanent basis. 16 Regiment RA could in theory deploy anywhere but their main role is on the battlefield with the regular army. As an example elements of the air defence group are in Cornwall now. “I find it hard to believe the RAF has no SAMs and is there such a thing as a RN equivalent?” In the Cold War there were squadrons of Bloodhounds arrayed along the east coast, I think 4 squadrons of RAF Regiment… Read more »

Robert Elcombe
Robert Elcombe
20 days ago

Be interested in the corrosion to the F35 on the aircraft carriers. The Navy plains purchased/transferred by the RAF off Arc Royal were corroded to hell and had to be rebuilt.

Robert Elcombe
Robert Elcombe
20 days ago
Reply to  Robert Elcombe

planes

bikerthai
bikerthai
19 days ago

Note that Martin Baker (UK) have been proving the mission seats for most if not all P-8 (A and I) delivered.

Michael Robinson
Michael Robinson
17 days ago

Do they have a similar system on board the new carriers for the F35 fleet while at sea ?

Small Spinner
Small Spinner
14 days ago

I seem to remember the aircraft wash was stopped at Kinloss as it reactivated the salt that was already on the airframe, where it then sat and rotted the metal without the benefit of a good airflow. We didn’t have a wash at St Mawgan.