An advanced search and rescue kit has been developed for the P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

“The UNIPAC III Search and Rescue (SAR) kit is designed to substantially increase survivor assistance,” said Squadron Leader Nathan Mula, an Australian P-8A Flight Test Tactical officer stationed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River (PAX) in Maryland in a release.

“The kit increases the survivor assistance capability of the P-8A from 16 to 100 people in a single sortie.”

The testing, which is performed at PAX, but funded by the Royal Australian Air Force ensures those rescued are found and sustained with food, water and communications for an extended time.

“The test program is a perfect example of the benefits reaped when two international partners join as part of a cooperative partnership,” Mula said.

“Not only does the RAAF take a large step toward a major capability milestone, but the U.S. Navy receives the developmental and operational test experience and results. By leveraging the developmental experience, both countries are able to increase their capability to provide assistance to survivors in the oceans around the world,” he said in a release.

Operated by US Navy, Australia and India, the P-8 is performing maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations around the globe. Additionally, the United Kingdom, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea have ordered the aircraft with deliveries expected through the middle of the next decade.

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Ian Skinner

sounds interesting, something the RAF could consider, budgets allowing?


Let’s hope it comes with newer ones.


The same life raft drop capability on the RAAF Orions saved yachtsman Thierry Dubois in the deep southern ocean during the same 1997 round-the-world race when Tony Bullimore survived under his capsized yacht.


Can’t help thinking that stupid rich people that decide to do such a dangerous thing as around the world yachting, should pay the tax payer for the cost of saving them, admittedly in that case it wasn’t the UK tax payer.