The third of nine P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft has been named after the highest scoring pilot in Coastal Command in the Second World War, say the Royal Air Force.
Poseidon MRA1 tail number ZP803 is currently being completed in the USA and sports the name ‘Terence Bulloch DSO* DFC* RAF’ in recognition of the pilot who made the greatest number of attacks against submarines in the Battle of the Atlantic.
“Born in Lisburn, County Antrim, Squadron Leader Bulloch joined the RAF in 1936. Serving with Coastal Command, Squadron Leader Bulloch and his crew shot down two German seaplanes and sank four German U-boats, and severely damaging several others. He was known for his flying skills, innovative tactics and perfect eyesight.
Before the introduction of the long-range Liberator (B-24) bomber, attacks by packs of U-boats were exacting a heavy toll on the Allied shipping bringing essential supplies across the Atlantic. On the 12 October 1942 Bulloch sank a U-boat Mid-Atlantic when flying a Liberator of CXX Squadron on detachment at Reykjavik, Iceland. Then on 8 December the same year, during a convoy escort, he attacked a U-boat wolf pack, sinking a second U-boat and attacking another with the two remaining depth charges. He and his crew then attacked five other submarines with cannon and machine gun fire. His final U-boat was sunk in the Bay of Biscay on 8 July 1943 flying a Liberator of 224 Sqn from St Eval, Cornwall.”
In April this year, 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.”