Personnel from 120 Squadron and the Poseidon Line Squadron have started training at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, say the Ministry of Defence. 

There are just over eight months until the delivery of the first British Poseidon MRA Mk1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

According to the MoD, the initial cadre of 38 personnel drawn from RAF Lossiemouth, are a mix of aircrew and engineers and will be trained on the US Navy training squadron, Patrol Squadron 30 (VP-30).

“RAF personnel will be trained in the USA during the next three years before the RAF transitions to train all their P-8A Poseidon personnel in the UK at RAF Lossiemouth.  Each training course is tailored to the role and trade of the trainee and takes approximately 6-months to complete.

p-8a-poseidon
CXX aircrew, under the command of Wing Commander James Hanson (center), ready for training. Image Crown Copyright 2019.

VP-30 trains over 600 students per year as well as overseeing the US Navy transition from P-3 Orion to P-8A Poseidon MPA for all the US Navy’s front-line squadrons.  Despite such a large workload, the squadron is excited and eager to train its oldest allies – the RAF.”

Air Commodore Iain Gale, the Senior Responsible Owner for the P-8A Programme, said:

“This first cadre of RAF aircrew and engineers undertaking training on the P-8A Poseidon mark the resurgence of the RAF’s long range maritime patrol capability.  The P-8A Poseidon will enhance the UK’s maritime patrol capability with advanced, state-of-the-art, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare sensors. The first Poseidon aircraft will enter RAF service in October 2019, initially at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, and will arrive in Scotland in Spring 2020, bringing future opportunities for hi-tech employment to Scotland.  

The first aircraft’s components are being manufactured now and the first aircraft will begin construction in the next few weeks.  This is an exciting time for RAF Lossiemouth, Morayshire and the personnel who will be part of this force.”

Last year, evidence submitted to the Defence Select Committee argued that seven additional P-8 Poseidon aircraft should be acquired, bringing the total fleet to 16 aircraft.

Written evidence submitted by Air Vice-Marshal Andrew L Roberts (Retd) states that:

“SDSR 15 proposed that nine P-8 Poseidon MPA be acquired. At the time, the P-8 was the only MPA on the market capable of meeting the UK’s needs in a reasonable timescale.  Given the urgency of filling this acknowledged gap in the Defence Programme, the Government was undoubtedly justified in selecting that aircraft without going out to competition.

However, capable though the P-8 may be, the number of aircraft planned is undoubtedly inadequate to fulfil even the highest priority tasks likely to be assigned to the force in tension and hostilities.”

Rendering of a British P-8.

The submission concluded that the planned force of only nine P-8 Poseidon aircraft would be insufficient to guarantee concurrent continuous cover for both the UK deterrent and other vital tasks, including CVA protection, in tension and hostilities. It claimed that to remedy this situation, seven additional P-8s should be acquired, bringing the total fleet to 16 aircraft, noting that any additional aircraft would need to be ordered before Q2, 2019.

39 COMMENTS

    • They have no teeth whatsoever as far as I know. Officers cannot even speak freely to them.

      What would be cut to pay for them?

      • I wouldn’t suggest cutting anything, but didn’t thecdefencecselect committee also recommend raising defence spending up to 3%? Hence why I asked; wondering what the chances were that HMG would pay any attention and action any of it, or just how the line of “we’re spending over 2%…”

        • No no, I agree with you. My comment on cuts was simply if we have x amount of money and it is stretched as is then if we want to prioritise with P8, a good idea in my view, money is found from somewhere.

          Spending should go up, but we are where we are and must be realistic.

          I don not think HMG listen to DSC and the ISC has no teeth either.

          • Well if it were up to me I’d cut Dreadnought. A much cheaper class could be made based off the Astute design, but made larger. As Astute is modular in design it wouldn’t take much to add a ballistic missile section. Even if the cost per sub increased to £2billion we could build 5 instead of 4 and still be 1/3 the most optimistic projected cost of Dreadnought. Would leave a further £21billion that could be allocated to, say, more P8s, more regular Astutes, more F35s and more T26 frigates.

            I’d keep the name Dreadnought however; too cool a name to throw away!

  1. This has nothing to do with the above article, but I see Reinmettal has just purchased a majority stake in BAE Land Systems (according to BBC).
    I guess this is to assist with the Boxer purchase, but such a shame that the country that invented the tank no longer has a UK based producer. The government making such a complete mess of the Fres program is mainly responsible for this. I wonder how it will impact their US land systems business as well.

    • Apparently only affects the UK armoured manufacturing sites, not the munitions business and nothing to do with the Sweedish and U.S. divisions.Interesting thing is it will compete with them especially the Sweedish part.

      • I wonder what it means for the C2 upgrade.

        It looks like BAE didn’t have any other choice considering General Dynamics is producing the Ajax and Rheinmetall is producing the boxer.
        UK government policy/incompetence has destroyed our own industry.
        It will be interesting to see how little export work goes to UK factories for future boxer orders in Europe.

        • I think the army suddenly decided it may like to have the 120mm smooth bore afteralll which sinks the BAE offering so they did the sensible thing and take 45 percent instead of nothing.

  2. I can almost gaurintee we won’t be getting 7 extra p8s, the government seems to want to order less than we need with almost everything. We have to stop this! We need a government in power that’s pro defence! But what options do we have!.

    I’m so glad RAF Lossiemouth near where I live on the morayfirth is the new home for P8s but I would have preferred RAF kinloss to stay open and be a dedicated P8 base, it has everything needed and will actually base the first p8s in British service because Lossiemouth is having runway work done and kinloss will also have some of the typhoons based there but the QRA jets will go to old RAF leuchers. It’s a crime that there’s only 1 RAF base left in Scotland! The government seem to be cutting bases everywhere and two more are being axed in England soon and they plan to close bases in the 2030s! God knows how they planed that one!. I hope RAF kinloss reopens as its runway will remain operational anyway for backup runway, but we almost lost Lossiemouth aswell so maybe I should feel lucky and Lossiemouth is actually getting allot bigger and will house loads of RAF planes in future and it will have a long future.

  3. I would be amazed if the RAF got 16 P-8. There were 2 increase options quoted. The other was for 12 P-8. 12 P-8 is better than 9 P-8 & is probably the best we can hope for, in the current climate. My big fear is that even the 9 P-8 may be cut to 8 in panic spending cuts.
    While the SLAM-ER production line is open for the Saudi order, I would like the RAF to order a batch for its P-8.

  4. Being Serious though, What Is the Capability difference between these P8’s and the £4 billion pounds worth of Razer Blades formally known as Nimrod. Are they anymore “Cutting Edge” ?

    • The Nimrod would have probably flown the sames systems about the skies as the P8 (or as near as damn it).

      All we are doing now is shoving those systems into a modern airframe. I do wonder if those systems should have shoved into the A400m which seems to have comparable lift and range to P8 and being a turboprop probably happier at lower altitudes?

      I know many on blogs like this think airyplanes are the panacea to all defence problems they are not. My main concern at home is whether we will have enough T26 for the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea for a permanent TAPS.

  5. The only way we might get up to 12 is if the Advanced Airborne Sensor can be used as a replacement for Sentinal then the four operational R1’s can be replaced freeing up crews and money. It’s all good and well the select committee saying we need to spend 3% of GDP on defence but which one of those fine fellows will stand for election offering to cut the NHS Budget by 12% or add 4 pence on the pound for income tax?

      • Exactly still infuriates me that at least 50% of what I earn is taken in tax, yet someone earning millions every year will be paying less than half that through tax loopholes.

        • BB85, It was In the news earlier this week that the top 26 Billionaires have as much Wealth as the poorest 50% of the Worlds Population.
          26 = 3.500.000.000.
          Just what can anyone say to those figures eh ?

          • The EU is introducing new regulations to tackle at least some of the widespread tax dodging that goes on. The fact that we are leaving the EU shortly before these regulations come into force is a mere coincidence, of course.

          • We need to make “regulatory capture” a criminal offence. Tax dodging multinationals claim their tricks are legal, but they often were not thirty years ago. The “Banksters” put their people into the Treasury to get the law changed. The lobbyists wined & dined parliament & senior officials to allow smooth passage of these changes.
            Corruption is not just in the third world.

  6. On the captain’s question of capability, I believe one of the differences is that the P8 uses a commercial airframe and therefore the wing design means it really can’t be flown at low altitude operationally, unlike the Nimrod Mk 2 and the proposed Mk4.

  7. Nothing wrong with being the Western Hemisphere’s Singapore. It will help pay for all those missing T45’s & the 8 extra T26 the Royal Navy desparetly needs. Saying that, so does the Army, with a strength of only 82,000 the U.K. “Defence Force” (it carries that name as its too small to be an Army), needs bulking out pronto. It you think of it, Operations Banner took 30,000 troops all the time. A Regiment would do one Nai tour once every 4/5 years. Based on today’s manpower. The Army would see a Regiment do a Tour for six months on, six months off, then six back on again. Total recipe for people to leave after their first contract is over. Unless the British Army is given another 50,000 to its number. The U.K. would be better protected by being part of this new German lead and controlled Army that has already adsorbed Romania’s, Czech Republic and Dutch forces. By 2020, Hungary, the Baltic Spain and Portugal’s follow. So far no news on how happy a new 19 Division “German” Army on the UK’s doorstep makes anyone feel, but that will become apparent once the news media clocks it, then we will have more cuts to pay for the Army.

    The money can be found, the £19.6bn Foreign Aid spending, the extra will have to come from taxation. So far the entire world is rearming and there’s a distinct danger we will be sending comrades into danger with kit that’s either out of date, too small in force numbers or robbing Peter to pay Paul.

  8. MPA is an essential capability we never should’ve cut. Scrapping the Nimrod should never have happened without immediate replacements being sought. Our defence policy & funding remains dangerously disfunctional. We simply refuse to keep a full team on the field, which is a reckless risk to those we do deploy, let alone the security of the nation. We must procure enough MPAs to do the job needed, just as we should have more personnel with better T&Cs & more naval escorts.
    It sickens me the way ministers get away with talking up our forces while stabbing them in the back with cuts & inadequate equipment. Neither the Russian, the Chinese, Iranians, Syrians or Northe Koreans are fooled by the spin: They’re only emboldened by our glaring capability gaps.

  9. The government has invested in the development of the HAV Airlander 10 and the early production versions of this aircraft will be designed for surveillance. Recent UK Unmanned Warrior trials used a virtual version to see how it fitted in with the rest of their assets and it performed well. Perhaps the government is considering a purchase of these, rather than extra P-8s?

    • Airlander Is not the Answer, Airlander Is full of Wind. History shows, time and time again that these aircraft are Fatally Flawed.

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