The second of the UK’s new P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft has landed in Scotland.

ZP802, The ‘City of Elgin’, landed at Kinloss just before 11am this morning say the Royal Air Force.

The P-8 Poseidon, developed by Boeing, is designed to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction, along with an electronic signals intelligence (ELINT) role. This involves carrying torpedoes, anti-ship missiles and other weapons.

Image Crown Copyright 2020.

The history of the aircraft dates back to June 2004, when the US Navy announced the selection of the Boeing multimission maritime aircraft, 737 MMA, and awarded a contract to Boeing for the system development and demonstration phase of the programme for the US Navy’s next-generation maritime surveillance aircraft. The aircraft was given the designation P-8A in March 2005.

Poseidon contains up to 7 crew computer consoles in its cabin, has an electro-optical and infrared sensor turret, a maritime surveillance radar and signal intelligence system. Its radar is capable of detection, classification and identification of ships, small vessels and surfaced submarines.

It also has coastal surveillance capability meaning that the Poseidon can be used for search and rescue operations.

The UK has procured 9 of the aircraft.

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Says above it carries anti-ship missiles or is this a case of ‘fitted for but not with?’ Anyway they are very welcome as recent Russian activity shows.

Steve Taylor

They’re on the way to being cleared for Harpoon II (and LRASM c2027/8). The UK has already said it will get them for Poseidon, along with Mk.54 torps (which is a retrograde step from Stingray but Stingray is not integrated). The UK will have access to US stocks initially. What happens after hasn

It’s worth noting that the HAAWC capability for the torps (gps gliding wing for high altitude release) is not ready yet.


Well that sounds good. I presume that all US allies operating this will have access – the Norwegians too. It will make Ivan think carefully about it’s North Atlantic strategy which is good news.

Supportive Bloke

Well at least it will be armed with enough to make anyone think carefully from the get go. And as with the T31 VLS debate there is no knowing what is in the bomb bay or in the VLS so just having access to the integrated missiles itself creates a deterrent effect. We already have stocks of free fall guided munitions so when that integration comes to pass it might be useful. However, I would be wary of sending such an valuable asset to do a Tornado type job. Standoff seems like a much better option given the way this… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Agree with Rob.

All very well having the aircraft. But as has been well documented here they will not at present carry Stingray, but inferior US torpedoes.

And as for ASMs. Sort it out MoD.

I presume all our Sea Eagles are long gone.

Gavin Gordon

Think about 20 years ago, unless there’s a couple in the yard outback. Lick of paint should do it, I reckon.


As far as I am aware they are only qualified to fire Harpoon. What are the chances of the MOD paying for that? Not much I’d suggest. Our P8s will be equipped for sub hunting only.

Paul T

Daniele – predictably both the Sea Eagle and Alarm Missile Systems reached the point of needing a MLU at roughly the same time,it was therefore decided to remove them out of the inventory instead to save money (AFAIK).

Supportive Bloke

I suspect you were not being entirely serious about Sea Eagle. Honestly IRL there is little point in thinking about using decades old tech as tech has moved onto defeat that sort of tech. Unless the seeker and targeting had been updated a good few times it would be less useful than a dumb bomb – you can’t jam/spoof a dumb bomb. This sort of vintage of weapon the on weapon software/firmware was usually baked into the IC’s so short of fabbing new chips new ‘software’ wasn’t a thing as Reflashing wasn’t a thing. One of the reason for the… Read more »

Robert Blay

Fantastic news, 7 to go. The start of a new generation of MPA capability.

Nigel Collins

Any ideas on timing for the weapons and sonobuoys anybody?


Just for the info the latest issue of Air-forces monthly

has a very interesting and informative article on the Kawasaki P-1


Farouk…….just read an article about the P1 it says the RAF where interested in buying these …….. shame we always end up buying Boeing……
The P1 seems very impressive


Ian, Not an aircraft expert like a lot on here, but from what I can gather (from the article) the P1 is not only cheaper to buy, ($140 million as opposed to $250 million) but is superior at the task at hand. Interestingly the P1 became operational in 2015 and today they have 33 flying with an order of 70 (which looks set to be expanded to 90) I pretty sure that the people in the UK who picked the P8 have their reasons, me, I just like the idea of a long range aircraft flying far out to sea… Read more »

Nigel Collins

Disappointing news to say the least.

“While it was originally intended that the platforms should have an overland surveillance capability, an RAF officer recently told Jane’s that this will not now be the case, due to the relatively few numbers of aircraft being procured and their commitment to their core carrier protection/MPA and ASW tasks.”


Wonder if thats due to the commitment for wedgetail that brings that capability i understand.


Nigel Collins

If that’s the case quite possibly Pete.

Daniele Mandelli

I thought Wedgetail was primarily for ASCS, not ground surveillance.

If so, 5 Wedgetail replace 5 Sentinel and whatever Sentry remain, 6?

Sentinel should be retained, so the RAF has the full range of Airborne ISTAR.


Shame kinloss can’t be used more often…..