The RAF has formally declared Initial Operating Capability for its brand-new P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
The British Poseidon MRA Mk1 fleet currently comprises of two aircraft with seven more to be delivered.
According to the Royal Air Force, Poseidon will now be patrolling the seas, “hunting potentially hostile submarines and helping to defend our nuclear deterrent”.
Air Commodore Richard Barrow, Poseidon Senior Responsible Owner said:
“We’ve just declared an initial operating capability for our Poseidon aircraft, on time on 1st April 2020. It’s a really exciting time for us in this programme, which is moving fast and the team at RAF Lossiemouth has delivered some great results in very quick time. We’ve still got a long way to go with introducing this next generation capability into Service, but Poseidon is a game-changer, not just for hunting submarines but for a range of other roles from anti-ship warfare, maritime reconnaissance and long-range search and rescue tasks.”
The RAF added in a release:
“It uses the very latest in cutting-edge technology to detect, identify and monitor hostile contacts both above and below the waves. It can carry up to 129 sonobuoys to search for enemy submarines and can be armed with Mk54 torpedoes if required to attack enemy submarines. Our Poseidon aircraft are operated by 54 Squadron and 120 Squadron, who are currently flying from Kinloss Airfield in Moray, Scotland. Poseidon will move to its permanent home at RAF Lossiemouth later this year once the refurbishment work on the runways and airfield infrastructure has been completed, including the new Strategic Facility which is being delivered by Defence Equipment and Support. Our second Poseidon squadron, Number 201 Squadron, will also stand up later this year.”
Recently, Boeing announced a temporary suspension of KC-46 tanker and P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the accelerating spread of Coronavirus.
Boeing said in a news release that these actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers.
“Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity today and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.”
Puget Sound area facilities includes facilities where the KC-46 and P-8 are being produced the company have confirmed and it has been speculated that there may be a delay with regards to the delivery of the aircraft to customers..
“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun.
The United Kingdom has ordered 9 boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft, much of the fleet are still in build at the now closed Boeing facilities.