A Royal Air Force P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft has released a torpedo for the first time.

The Royal Air Force say here that in a training flight conducted over the Moray Firth a Poseidon (P-8A) aircraft operated by 120 Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, dropped a recoverable exercise variant of the Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo, simulating an attack on a submarine.

Image Crown Copyright 2021

According to the RAF:

“At just under 3m long and 32cm in diameter, the Mk 54 torpedo is small and light enough that five can be carried in the Poseidon’s internal weapons bay.  The high-explosive warheads on the live torpedoes pack a devastating punch sufficient to destroy enemy submarines that the Poseidon crew can locate and track using state-of-the-art equipment. The successful release of a torpedo is the latest milestone in the rapid development of the Poseidon in RAF service.”

Squadron Leader Higgins, Torpedo Project lead, was quoted as saying:

“It’s been a great privilege to witness the hard work of so many talented individuals across the Royal Air Force, civil service and industry partners come together to enable us to launch and recover this torpedo. This exercise has proved everything is in place for our weapon technicians to rapidly get these torpedoes onto our aircraft, so we can deliver them wherever and whenever they are needed.”

The RAF add that five Poseidon MRA1s are based at RAF Lossiemouth with a further four set to be delivered by the end of this year.

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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

I feel a GB explanation coming on….

They never mention that MK54 is naff compared to what we had before.

A backward step, but at least it has some sort of weaponry.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago

I had the same thoughts  😉 

The smaller weapons bay is another step backwards. The Nimrod weapons bay was huge with loads of potential…

Ho hum, water under the bridge, nice to have MPA back in the order battle – crucial in fact. So more good progress – sticking with to days glass half full theme 🙂

Cheers CR

Last edited 2 months ago by ChariotRider
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago

No detailed comment from me…
I think everyone knows my thoughts on the thing…
Anyway it’s virtual Saturday and I’m enjoying the Sun and the 42 degs temp with a GT.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

👍

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi Gunbuster,

Just seen an article over on Navy Lookout. apparently the UK has, “an $18.6M contract signed with Northrop Grumman in 2018 to enhance the Mk 54’s sonar array”.

Still not as good as the Stingray I’m guessing. If we do integrate the Stingray, Norway may follow as they also use the Stingray on their frigates and helicopters. (I’m have a glass half full day.)

Enjoy the GT. Its a shower dodging day here 🙂

Cheers CR

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

A good anology would be like putting the latest Typhoon radar on a Hawker Hunter… 😁

AV
AV
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Great analogy! (although the Hunter was the dogs cahonas in its day, unlike the Mk.54 lol).
Limited knowledge on all things Torpedo esq…but my cursory take on it is that Stingray is a good as it gets and would be a sad omission.
However the reality of the situation and that of choices made make intergration sadly unlikely.

Pete
Pete
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Any real physical limitations in fitting stingray …or is it simply software and certification ? GT down under as i type

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

 😂  😂 

Except what you have explained recently I think you would get a better deal with the Hunter 🙂

Cheers CR

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I’ve just got a full time job after almost year having scored 95% in the test! I’m joining you for a bevvy after 17:00 Zulu!

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago

I think it was because we just bought off the standard US production line and the torps were part of the package. I hope they fit Stingray. After all that would rationalise the supply chain and give jobs to the UK. Not to mention Stingray is better.

Finney
Finney
2 months ago

Yes it seems to me that with the newest Russian subs supposedly capable of over 35kn, you’d practically need to drop a Mk54 right on top of one to have any chance of hitting

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
2 months ago

Is it that bad viewed on its own merit or just when compared against Stingray?

Andy P
Andy P
2 months ago

Ha ! Not that I’ve given it a lot of thought but I’d assumed that they would have got round to it before now.

John N
John N
2 months ago

Wow!

You’d be forgiven for thinking a weapon had never been released before by the 120+ Poseidon delivered and in service over the last decade or so!

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

It’s a first for a an RAF P8.

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Yes I’m fully aware of that.

Just poking a bit of fun at the excited wording used in the press release.

Hmmm… I wonder, do Poms get Aussie sarcasm and humour?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

Not always easy to tell in the comments section these day’s from the tounge in cheek, from the serious 😆👍

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

No problem mate.

Yes it is hard to work out what’s tongue in cheek and what’s not at times.

Anyway… it’s late Friday night here in Sydney, and what better way to end the week than poke fun at the above press release.

Cheers,

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

Have a great weekend 👍

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  John N

We just think you’re all merchant bankers.

John N
John N
2 months ago
Reply to  David

Merchant bankers? Rhyming slang hey? Very good.

Us Aussies love rhyming slang too.

You lot remind us of a bunch of Rex Hunts.

Cheers,

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
2 months ago

I guess the Sting Ray would be too much of a faff to fit onto the p-8’s, are they being equipped with Harpoon? I certainly hope not

Last edited 2 months ago by Goldilocks
AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Why not?

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

As our harpoons have never been upgraded, need replacing and are obsolete?

LongTime
LongTime
2 months ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Pretty sure Poseidon is only certified for harpoon block II so they would have to be new stock anyway. Also certified for SLAM-ER by the US Navy

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago

I knew the weapons bay was small, but I have just noticed how small! Another thing, 5 torpedos is (literally) an odd number for a weapons bay – you would normally expect to fit weapons side by side for a even number, unless there is one mounted below a pair of weapons similar to the Brimstone triple mount? Assuming the latter lay out then the weapons bay is only about 7m long. That means the P8 is probably unlikely to get the Future Cruise / Anti-Ship Weapon because the missile is reportedly in the 5m class which could make it… Read more »

DRS
DRS
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

if length is 7mtr long then should be able to get a mix with FC/ASW looks wide enough 14981008267_6c3d981874_b.jpg (1024×683) (staticflickr.com)

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  DRS

Can you fit torps under the wings?

Ambivalent Lurker
Ambivalent Lurker
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

As far as I know the aircraft flies too high so they would need additional built in heaters to work properly, IIRC the torpedo warhead and gudance systems get screwed up by very cold air (minus 10-minus 60 degrees C at alititude, obviously this is not an issue for helicopters such as Merlin or Wildcat as they fly a lot lower but an MPA needs to be able to transit to and from its patrol zone by flying at above 30,000 ft for both speed, fuel economy and, to a lesser degree, reducing airframe stress). This is why you can… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago

That’s interesting Ambivalent Lurker,

The US are developing a glide package for the MK54 to be dropped from 30,000 ft. Sounds like they have a more complicated job than I initially thought. From what Gunbuster as said about the MK54, it will need the glide package to get close enough to the latest and fastest Russia subs…

Cheers CR

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago

Thanks for the info – very informative.

At least there are nine P8 so they can sent more to undertake extra attacks/patrols. Not to mention helicopter support from ships.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

P8 has wing pylons. Any ASM would go there. Harpoon goes on the pylons on the USN planes

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi Gunbuster, I was thinking longer term and that the FC/ASW is a much bigger weapon. I have not been able to find much about the hardpoints on the P-8A, but I am sure I read somewhere that each hardpoint carries a single Harpoon. I could be wrong – my memory ain’t what is used to be 🙂 So looking at the relative weights of the missiles, Air launched Harpoon is 516kg and 3.8m long, FC/ASW is slated to be in the 800kg and 5m long bracket. So significant differences in size and weight. Modern airliners are thin on fatigue… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi Gunbuster, Thanks for the link a very interesting piece. Clearly the aircraft is capable of carrying extra weapons and undertaking a wider range of missions, that was something I did not doubt. However, I still stand by my concerns over the load carrying abilities of the wing – it is a civilian wing after all. You could strengthen the wing but as I have indicated previously the 737 has serious CG issues. So adding mass forward or close to the CG could cause serious engineering challenges. The CG issue may also partly explain why the bomb bay is limited… Read more »

Ambivalent Lurker
Ambivalent Lurker
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I don’t normally go in for the fantasy fleets/weapons type discussions so beloved on the comments sections of websites like this(that casually ignore the thorny problems of complex systems integration) but…
I wonder if you could fit the SPEAR3 quad-launcher (same as is going on the RAF F35B) onto those mounts? 🤔 

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago

Hi Ambivalent Lurker,

I think the SPEAR 3 will use a triple round launcher arrangement as per the Brimstone missile, but yes if the weight of the three weapons and launcher comes in similar to the Harpoon it might be a possibility. See my response to Gunbuster above for my concerns about the 737 limitations, a bit long winded I’m afraid 🙂

Cheers CR

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 months ago

Well something better than nothing ,but looking at weapons bay did we really do the right thing with Nimrod 🙄

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

We did, but, should we have gone Japanese?

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 months ago
Reply to  David

Maybe so David but to late now I guess

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  David

We absolutely should have gone for the Kawasaki P-1. Purpose built Maritime ASW Aircraft specifically designed for low level ops, 4 engines and a large bomb bay ( a nod to the Nimrod perhaps!), whats not to like!

I think that sometimes we get blinkered into what we need and revert to type by purchasing equipment from across the pond, regardless of what else is available.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Hi Deep32, I am not a fan of the 737 – well past it as highlighted by the reports on the recent crashes around the world. (For more details see my response to Gunbuster above.) However, Boeing have done well on the cost of the programme, brining is it well below forecast cost per aircraft and the US is opening up the programme to allied suppliers. Given our gapped capability and, at the time of ordering, tight defence budget I think the RAF made the right choice. However, it may well turn out to be a bit of a developmental… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi mate, won’t argue with programme costs et al, and we have made our choice, which is clearly what the RAF wanted, I’m sure it’s a capable aircraft. However, your comments ref 737 in general are IMO still pertinent ones, so time will tell. I personally think we should have integrated Stingray with the P-8, far superior weapon, given that it might well take 2-3 of them to actually sink a modern SSN/GN/BN. It’s the same with the recent Apache announcement of not integrating Brimstone 2 on them, which does all it says on the tin! Still, no accounting for… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
2 months ago

I just hope that some money will be found to add LRASM & SLAM-ER to RAF P-8.

dan
dan
2 months ago

Love how people continue to compare the P-8A to the old, long since out of service Nimrod. lol

AV
AV
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Theres a reason, as it was in many regards a far superior aircraft for the maritime role.Incredible loiter times, fantastic low level flight dynamics and a weapons suite to match….all on an airframe that dated back to the 1st jet airliner.
Cue ensuing can of worms etc…

Last edited 2 months ago by AV
The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Aye with enough money and willingness to spend it pretty much anything flawed can be improved or corrected however unless you are the US government then this strategy is highly likely to bankrupt you so it isn’t worth it even for the nimrod which was superb at what it did. The MK4 if it were to be furnished into the mix with the Fed reserves unlimited stimulus list of beneficiaries would be superior in the role to the P8. 👍🏻 P8 and Nimrod are like comparing the Dandy and the Beano everyone knows which was the better of the two.😉… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Maybe because it was better.

Like low level loitering with some engines shut down.

I’d like to see your P8 try that.

Esteban
Esteban
2 months ago

Well now it’s your P8… You bought it. Because your other clown show was a colossal failure. And it was well over a decade ago.. And you still don’t even have remotely adequate a number of them. But maybe the rest of your allies will chip in and help out again.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Esteban

A bit like your clown show that is the F35 programme! When all told a colossal failure in how not to run a multinational high tech programme, except of course unless it benefits Uncle Sam! It’s nearly two decades since it first flew, and is still only capable of being armed with a few weapons, the USA doesn’t remotely have enough either, they won’t ever, because it’s slowly dawning that it’s not the sum of parts it pretends to be!! But then, hopefully all your allies will continue to pay for it, so the US can go and develop something… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

 😊 

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Esteban

Boring……

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Esteban

It is. And pleased we have them.

Better than nothing.

What else do you want to list while your here that the UK lacks to further your “agenda”?

Tell us your nation, sure we will find plenty of issues!  😂 

Pete
Pete
2 months ago

🤣🤣 was just thinking the nation currently operates under the ROC flag of convenience .

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Pete

Yes. Curious one. You’re either banned or you’re not.
And GB has smashed it again. Pre eminent European nation and 4th. 🤜

Being behind China USA and the host nation is not surprising.

GREAT BRITAIN.

Positroll
Positroll
2 months ago

Has this been mentioned already?

Boeing rolls out Norwegian Air Force’s first P-8A Poseidon aircraft 12 Jul 2021
https://www.airforce-technology.com/news/boeing-norwegian-air-forces-p-8a-poseidon/
They are getting 5.