The third of nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft has arrived in Scotland from the United States.

Nine Poseidon MRA1 aircraft have been ordered, the first of which landed on British soil for the first time in February 2020.

“Since then, crews from CXX Squadron have been securing the seas over and around the United Kingdom on operational missions. 54 Squadron have also been training new pilots and weapons systems operators on the platform, as 400 additional military personnel will be joining Team Lossie in Moray to fly and operate the nine aircraft.

Poseidon is a hugely capable submarine hunter, able to locate, identify, and track potentially hostile submarines as they operate close to our waters. Its powerful radar is also able to detect and track surface vessels above the waves. It boasts a comprehensive communications suite which means the intelligence it gathers can be passed to commanders whether they are in the air, on a ship, on the ground, or back at RAF Lossiemouth.”

Station Commander of RAF Lossiemouth, Group Captain Chris Layden, said in a news release:

“Today is a proud moment for Team Lossie, ushering in a new era for the Station delivering combat air power and maritime patrol operations over and around the United Kingdom.

Yesterday I had the privilege of landing the first Typhoon on our newly resurfaced runways, and today I had the pleasure of welcoming in the first Poseidon to its permanent home in Moray. This is just the beginning of our expansion and modernisation as one of the RAF’s most strategically important Stations in the United Kingdom.”

The £75m programme to resurface RAF Lossiemouth’s runways and operating surfaces began in January 2020, with the work being carried out by VolkerFitzpatrick. The work has involved stripping, strengthening, and resurfacing all of the runways, taxiways and dispersals.

From July 2020 both runways were out of use while the intersection was resurfaced, which meant no fixed wing flying could take place. Quick Reaction Alert temporarily moved to Leuchars Station in Fife, with Typhoon training continuing at Kinloss Barracks.

The RAF say that by Friday 16th October, all Typhoon and Poseidon operations including Quick Reaction Alert will be back at their permanent home in Moray.

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George

Hi folks hope all are well.
Shame we will only have nine in total. Nonetheless, better to have them now rather than less if they were still in the development stage making them vulnerable to cuts under the planed review. Happy with nine, may be able to add a few more in the future?
Cheers
George

geoff

Morning George

Hope you are well. Realistically I think nine is going to be the best outcome especially in the current economic climate and should suffice working in conjunction with our allies.
Regards from Durban

Joe16

Hi Geoff,
I’d agree, with our nine, plus the Norwegians’ five, and the US running however many they do from Greenland and elsewhere, I think that’s a pretty respectable fleet. As far as I’m aware, they have one mission and that is to patrol the north Atlantic and GIUK gap in particular, so in fact it’s a very large contingent of aircraft for such a specific mission, by UK armed forces standards!
Enjoy a bunny chow for me this weekend, if you get the chance!

Gunbuster

In this case buying off the shelf is paying dividends. A quick and regular delivery of assets.

Ian

Hi Gunbuster……why can we do this with planes but not ships?

Pacman27

We can

HMG choose not to do so

Even worse, we can do this within the UK with a bit of effort.

The Tides were purchased using this model.

ETH

The Tides were built in South Korea purely based on the lack of shipyards available at the time, a logical reason I’m sure you’d agree.

Even with the fact there was absolutely no where to build them in the UK, there was relatively significant protest from the shipbuilding industry because of this. This outcry would only be amplified if a foreign ship order was made when UK yards were available (see the FSSS) project and it’s campaigns from MP’s.

Alan Reid

I always enjoy reading your posts, Gunbuster – but maybe just this once, less so.
A great day for the shareholders at Boeing, no doubt, but it reminds many of a very sad day for the British aircraft industry.

Ian

Hi Alan…have we still got a British aircraft industry?

Alan Reid

It’s hanging in there, Ian, but there’s not much of it left. Just the backend of the F-35B – plus a few Typhoons to finish off! Oh, and a giant Airfix kit called Tempest! lol

Robert Blay

That ‘back end ‘of the F35 keeps 25,000 people in job’s.

Alan Reid

No doubt, Robert, but really the “crown jewels” of aircraft design and production is the nose section. That’s where you find the really highly skilled work (like integration of systems) – and that’s why the Americans kept that bit on their side of the Atlantic! Indeed, it’s because Warton made the nose of the Tornado and Typhoon that makes it the leading design and manufacturing centre of military aircraft in western Europe. Unfortunately, though – in the home of the Comet, VC10, BAC1-11, Trident – our blundering politicians gave up our leadership of civilian airline manufacturing to the French years… Read more »

Robert Blay

Well, we make the wings for every single Airbus, and most of the engines, two pretty important components. 👍 We make 10-15% of every single F35 that will be made, over 3000, that’s big business, plus some very important avionics like the Defensive aids is British.

Alan Reid

Hi Robert,
Airbus is a Franco-German led organisation, centred on Toulouse – and for the moment, they sub-contract the wing design and assembly to their UK factories.
When it comes to airliners, France is the leading manufacturing power in Europe.

geoff

We made a huge mistake selling our 20% stake in Airbus.

Ian

Which politician signed off selling our share ?

julian1

that was TB and enabled BAE to go large in the US

BB85

TB should have ensured the 20% remained in the UK. Either sell to RR and provide some sort of back door finance or find a way for the uk government to do it. There is no way France or Germany would have diluted their national share of airbus.

Longtime

Alan, We don’t have an aircraft industry capable of building large military multi engined aircraft in the UK anymore especially if they are only going to get an order for 9 aircraft, then It becomes prohibitively expensive to afford the development cost. The only way for UK industry to be more involved would of been airbus’s proposed A319 MPA got off the ground but there wasn’t enough interest. To be fair Boeing do use UK engineering for a lot of components in all the 737NG series aircraft and if memory serves a couple of the mission systems in a P8… Read more »

Alan Reid

Hi Longtime, But for an incoherent cancellation in 2010, never properly explained by the MoD, Nimrod MRA4 would now have been in service for ten years – with a much superior capability to the P8, and one tailored for the needs of the UK. Instead an aircraft on the verge of service was chopped up by JCBs, the workforce at Woodford made redundant, and the site turned into a housing estate. But on the bright side – we got yet another heritage centre! I know about the difficulties in the development programme – but MRA4 was working at the time… Read more »

Supportive Bloke

@Alan Reid I agree it was not properly explained. So here goes. The issue was mainly around certifying them post Haddon Cave. The problem was (a) that each aircraft was individually built by hand somewhat at the whim of the team building it and (b) the aircraft where then modified by successive generations of maintainers and fitter for the RAF as they moved through different kit and roles. None of this was properly documented or in most cases documented at all. The issue with (a) was that each aircraft was unique. Some identical skin seams had two rows of rivets… Read more »

mikeytee

I read somewhere that the simple truth was that the airframe was proving too small for the necessary equipment and didn’t allow for future upgrades.

Alan Reid

Hi Supportive Bloke, I think you make some very good comments – but I feel you’re projecting reasons why you think cancellation was merited from today’s perspective – but these are not the reasons expressed during 2010. In Hansard 16/06/10: Only four months before cancellation, and the year after Haddon-Cave … In a response by the Minister: “Nimrod MRA4 deliveries began in March this year and under current plans initial operating capability is expected to be achieved at RAF Kinloss by October 2012, with some ad hoc capability available before this date”. There is no intimation of potential cancellation due… Read more »

Supportive Bloke

I’ve responded in detail with a few links.

The moderator is sitting on it as it has a few links in it. I don’t appear to be cleared to link!

Alabama boy

To add to your story, Boeing were asked to put the Loral 1017 ESM Pods from the Nimrod AEW on the Boeing E3s for the RAF. After at first Pod was sent to Boeing for a trial fit and than a second and eventually a 3rd they determined that each Pod attachment to the Nimrud’s wing was different and were effectively hand crafted.to fit individual aircraft. The Pods had been manufactured at BAe Woodford

Supportive Bloke

The problems started early on in the project. BAE took an airframe stripped it took the wings & wing spar out. They then measured it and made wings for however many X MRA4 planes they had to upgrade. Stripped the second one – wings did not fit. Because every fuselage was slightly different. So each MRA4 wing was then coach built to fit. At that point the X different type certificates thing became inevitable. And because there was not enough of the original aircraft left its type certification could not be grandfathered over. I don’t know where the ESM pod… Read more »

Paul42

The fact it was 789 million over budget and nine years late was an indication of the problems encountered……

Supportive Bloke

It was ‘only’ that little over budget because BAE cried ‘Force Majeur’, blaming the wing fit fiasco, so HMG then obligingly reduce the number of MRA4 planes to fit the remaining budget.

Which kind of works until the budget goes negative.

It is quite interesting that some of the BAE Nimrod team deny the wing fit story vehemently.

Some of the BAE Nimrod team tell the wing fit story on loop……

Ian

Alan…..we will invest millions on tempest….. then pull out after ordering 100 and get 6…..

geoff

Morning Alan. The reality is that the numbers are just too small to even contemplate a UK build-think of the Nimrod disaster. I agree with Gunbuster in this instance. The UK has to concentrate on projects that promise some volume-Type 26 and hopefully Tempest, come to mind.
An old friend ex RAF maintenance, and i used to sit over a few beers and try to remember the names of all the old British aircraft manufacturers sadly gone to rest-Avro, Handley Page, Vickers, Bristol,Hawker, Supermarine, English Electric, Fairey, Folland,Sopwith,Sunderland,Shorts…have I missed any?
Cheers

Ian

Boulton Paul…..Hunting…….

Ian

Saunders-Roe

Herodotus

Gloster, Blackburn…..

Alan Reid

Hello Geoff, Always good to hear from you ….. you’ve listed some great companies. How about De Havilland at the famous Hatfield works? Or Blackburn Aircraft at Brough, near Hull? You could argue that English Electric is still with us in the shape of its old Warton facility, near Blackpool – the site of Typhoon design and manufacturing. Once Nimrod was cancelled, Geoff, I never saw any option other than to buy off the shelf – but to cancel a British aircraft on the verge of entering service, and after £4B had been spent on it, was scandalous – and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Alan

I sympathise with your position. I don’t know if P8 is inferior as I’m not knowledgeable on the technical side of these things, but I’m pleased that we have them because after the Nimrod affair was the choice not P3, P1 or these? As dedicated MPA/ASW options and not a converted type like the Hercules.

I read these and the P1 are the quality assets in the current field of options, so pleased we have them, and also the interoperability part with Norway, Australia, and the USN.

Mr Bell

Agree re interoperability with NATO allies but the Kawasaki P1 is reported to be superior MPA. with better sensors, longer range, better in flight endurance and resilience via 4 engines vs 2.

geoff

Hello Alan-nice to hear from you too. I dont know the finer details of the Nimrod saga so accept what you say. It is just that on the face of it and with the history of its development, it was probably a bad idea from the start-maybe another airframe? Thanks to you and Ian for adding to my list. I will try for one more but in the interim don’t include Panavia, Sepecat and BAC as being obviously hybrids!……Gloster!!! 🙂 🙂

julian1

and no one has even mentioned the Nimrod AEW….it didn’t happen just once, but twice…albeit different reasons and circumstances

geoff

Britten-Norman!!

Herodotus

Martin Baker….still around making ejection seats! The MB5 was a really impressive aircraft!

Paul42

It was a scandal that we ever went down the MR4A road. It was apparent from the outset that there were going to be a lot of problems with the airframes, and there were. Certification was the tip of the Iceberg, system.integration proved so difficult we were still battling with it as the 2010 Defence review was held, the IOC was in reality far further away than anyone dared to admit, indeed,, some believed it could never be fully achieved. Add that to the physical problems being encountered with the design and assembly and you had something that should never… Read more »

Alan Reid

Hi Paul, A scandal to invest in the British aerospace industry – and its workers? A scandal to upgrade an aircraft that had provided sterling service to the UK for 40 years? A troubled programme no doubt, but evidence to the Parliamentary Defence committee indicated these problems had been overcome. And anecdotally, a member of the test team told me the aircraft was working at the time of cancellation. But certainly a scandal to chop-up with JCBs an aircraft on the verge of entering service, and perhaps a dereliction of duty to then leave the UK without an MPA capability… Read more »

Paul42

Hi Alan, this wasn’t an ‘upgrade’. It was a new project utilising old fuselages designed and created may years previously, mated with a host of completely new parts including the wings…… Investing in British industry and workers is great if the finished product does the job, but in this instance an awful lot of problems were kept under wraps, and the costs soared…..To say eveything was working is a bit like saying when we pressed the switch a light came on, was eveyhing working as it should? No, sadly it wasn’t, we have a habit in the UK of delivering… Read more »

Alan Reid

Hi Paul, You’ve covered a lot of ground in your reply. From MRA4, we’ve strayed into air-defence interceptors and weapons-systems on warships. But seeing as you raise the subject: nearly all new weapons systems have issues, for instance, the superlative Typhoon was grounded for a year shortly after its maiden-flight because of concerns over its flight-control system. But thankfully, siren voices to cancel the project, and buy American or French instead, were rejected – and the aircraft is today a great success. Likewise, but for cancellation, MRA4 would probably have been patrolling these shores for the last ten years –… Read more »

John Clark

Hi Alan, most of us are for buy British, but not at the cost of divesting a large portion of the defence budget to do so. If BAE Systems wants UK defence money thrown in their direction, then they need to produce cost effective, capable equipment, produced in a timely fashion. Keeping UK companies going is the job of the DTI, not the Mod, unfortunately, these boundaries have become ever more blurred over the years and it’s the front line that’s paid the price. If you ask most folks on the front line, they will tell you they want reliable,… Read more »

Alan Reid

Hi John, I think the “back-arts” shown by the MoD misinformation brigade have done a pretty good job on members of this forum! lol But I agree with you – acquiring an MPA capability should not be at the cost of divesting a large portion of the defence budget to do so. Hence my bemusement at cancelling an aircraft about to be brought into service in 2010 – and then spending another £2.5B on an inferior replacement! And as regards our servicemen – like you, I can’t speak for them. But I do remember press coverage in Scotland suggesting that… Read more »

John Clark

I take your point Alan, the MRA4 raises as much strong feeling as TSR2 does! Another part of the reason for cancellation of the MRA4 would have been the enormous cost of upgrade, on a 9 stong bespoke fleet, it would have cost another fortune! All modern military aircraft require expensive avionics updates every 10 years to counter component obsolescence, so a mid life update for the MR4A would by now be gathered pace and a ‘seriously’ expensive understanding it would have been. The fact is, it should never have been started, the MOD and BAE Systems should have discovered… Read more »

Alan Reid

Hi John, Some of your comments may perhaps be merited, but I think they benefit somewhat from hindsight. Just to recap, the main thrust of my argument is that having finally developed the capability – it was bonkers to then cancel it in 2010, and subsequently hand-over yet another £2.5B to Boeing. I don’t remember the cost of a projected avionics upgrade featuring in the decision to cancel – that is simply another projected justification for cancellation from 2020. There is much evidence in the public domain to suggest the real reason for the demise of the MRA4 to have… Read more »

Harold

Will the P3 aircraft remain in Scotland after independence?

Heidfirst

If we were to go independent & the Royal Engineers/RAF pulled out of Kinloss/Lossie then the Morayshire economy would be very hard hit.

Mark B

No Harold they will have been retired twenty years by then

Alan Reid

Wrong aircraft, Harold, do try and keep up with us …….

Airborne

Yaaaaaaaawn same old toothless chuff.

Airborne

P3? Ha ha ha ha haaaaa god you know fuck all.

David

Don’t think we ever had P3 orion. Though I suspect if Scotland goes independent, Sturgeon may buy some from from Chile.

Last edited 5 days ago by David
John Hampson

I have posted this before but still valid and could help reduce cost and capcity for, Tanking, AEW, Maritime Patrol etc.. “Here’s an idea. Boeing has about 400 +/-, 737 Max planes in storage. Even if these planes get permission to carry passengers, and this is not certain. It is highly likely that passengers would have no confidence flying in them. Why not buy a couple of dozen at bargain basement prices and convert them to missile trucks for F-35’s or basic Patrol/Strike/Ground Support aircraft or Surveillance.” EU aviation regulators have scheduled flight tests for Boeing’s troubled 737 Max plane.… Read more »

Joe16

In general, the idea of bomb trucks isn’t a bad one. However it would be interesting to know how easy it would be to cut “bomb bays” -for want of a better term- in the airframes safely. I think the biggest problem, though, is that it’s the systems that are the expenive part of military hardware, not generally the physical airframes/hulls/chassis. Full fit out of military-grade sensors, comms, EW, etc. is where the real money pit is. I’ve no doubt we could pick up the airframes cheap, but that’ neveer been the issue really, it’s the integration of all the… Read more »

John Hampson

A Boeing Max went for between $100m to $135mn when new. Boeing at the moment can’t give them away. Even if a MAX was only equipped to basic standards that would be hell of a saving for an significant increase in capacity.

Post Covid the Defence budget is going to come under enormous pressure.

Grant

These have come on stream quickly and seemingly with no problems (As they should for £2.5bn for 9 of the things).

I always thought it would have made more sense to fill up the RAF Hercs with loads of British made surveillance equipment giving some work to Ultra Electronics, Marshalls and other British companies.

That said I guess we got the best plus interoperability with Norway and the US

Daniele Mandelli

The remaining Hercules of 47 Sqn are heavily tasked supporting DSF.
Both that and the MPA/ASW role are high priority taskings so diverting an asset to cover both and doing neither properly is wrong in my opinion.

Yes, I swear I read that the delivery rate for P8 was going to be slow, so a third already is good.

geoff

Hey Daniele-How are you my friend? Hope all well in the Home Counties! Is the CMS messaging service still operational because it no longer informs me when I receive replies to posts on UKDJ. thought it might be my PC?
Cheers and Regards from Durbs(partly cloudy 22 deg)

Herodotus

Hi geoff….check you junk mail folder…I have found quite a few in there!
Mind you …..:)

Daniele Mandelli

Afternoon geoff. We are well, thank you. I’m hard at work, playing trains.
I’ve never been informed by CMS, I just look in the spam folder for replies, as H below says.
Part sun part cloud in Surrey.

Ian

Hi Daniele….there was a tweet on this site that showed no3 and no4 in the factory at Boeing…….no4 looked complete…..hopefully here soon

Daniele Mandelli

Yes, faster than I thought Ian. They’re needed.

RobW

According to the RAF all nine will be delivered by November 2021. I’m amazed by that if it is still true. great though.

https://www.raf.mod.uk/news/articles/first-poseidon-aircraft-delivered-to-the-raf/

Joe16

Hi Daniele, if the schedule is to be believed, we should get another two before year’s end! They are already conducting flight tests in the US, so not outisde the realms of possibility.

Paul42

I believe the 4th aircraft is due in the UK before the end of of 2020, with the remaining delivered in 2021

Geoff

Anyone know the name of ZP804 yet ?

Herodotus

Err…Nimrod…the mighty hunter?

Alan Reid

Och ….. that’s just rubbing it in, Herodotus! lol

Ian

Geoff how about a choice from Blair…..Cameron……..Brown……..Osborne