The P-8 Poseidon is an aircraft designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The aircraft is capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations and is a derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800.

The following excerpt comes from this notification.

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for P-8A Aircraft and associated equipment, training, and support. The estimated cost is $3.2 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on March 24, 2016.

The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) has requested notification for the possible procurement of up to nine (9) P-8A Patrol Aircraft, associated major defense equipment, associated training, and support. The estimated cost is $3.2 billion.

The UK is a close ally and an important partner on critical foreign policy and defense issues. The proposed sale will enhance U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing the UK’s capabilities to provide national defense and contribute to NATO and coalition operations.

The proposed sale will allow the UK to re-establish its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) capability that it divested when it cancelled the Nimrod MRA4 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) program. The United Kingdom has retained core skills in maritime patrol and reconnaissance following the retirement of the Nimrod aircraft through Personnel Exchange Programs (PEPs). The MSA has remained the United Kingdom’s highest priority unfunded requirement. The P-8A aircraft would fulfill this requirement. The UK will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.”

The approval means that the UK will acquire the P-8A aircraft along with associated equipment, training, and support at an estimated cost of around £250 million each.

P-8s are also to perform search-and-rescue missions and conduct overland reconnaissance.

Deliveries of the P-8’s are to begin before 2020 with three being in service before then.

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Trev Shepherd

Apart from politics, what are the main advantages over the kawasaki?

Chris Pate

Spares would be one. It’s just a 737 easily sourced parts

David Southern

yes, spares pool!

Trev Shepherd

When you’re miles out over the ocean I think four engines are safer than two, & apparently it performs well at high & low level!

David Southern

Actually the truth is its not! it was in the 50’s and 60’s but engine reliability is so good now that in some cases a pilot will never experience an engine failure in his/her career. Some engines achieve 9 million hours between failure. Adding more systems to an aircraft (in most cases) increases the chance of failure due to added complexity.

Chris Pate

Is a shame really. Would of been a nice addition to the raf.

Gordon Pell

Timescales. Proven tech. In service in reasonable numbers. Interoperability. Availability. What else would you like?

Trev Shepherd

Keep your hair on chap! It was just a question!

Jamie Stallwood

The P1 is more stable at lower altitudes than the P8 and is also more rigid. 4 engines is safer than 2 but that means double the running cost. Many nations are buying into the 737 for military uses (Poseidon and Wedgtail) because it’s reliable and cheaper with easier to source parts. Although the P8 doesn’t have a MAD boom or the UK air to air refuelling system I’m sure these will be implemented in the future. But I think we can all agree it would have been more cost effective to have stuck with the development of the Nimrod… Read more »

Paul Hopkins

Cost, commonality and the fact that spares should be easy to obtain. Perhaps we should think about the flying boom for refuelling large aircraft.

Paul Hopkins

Cost, commonality and the fact that spares should be easy to obtain.

It must help with the introduction of P8 into service that we have a core of experienced aircrew on the type through seedcorn.

Andrew Perrin

another mod treasury bothed cockup just for 500 million no wonder are navy and forces in general are short underfunded and has a big job dissatisfaction rate amongst serving people we need to rectify it quickly before further damage is done that cost billions and decades to sort out

Nicky Mark Franks

It’s a downward spiral I’m afraid. I know I was in for 25 years.

Thomas Mccafferty

never cutback the armed forces then we then have to pay more .. typical politicians

Colin Wilson

The way the pounds dropping we’ll be buying drones from ToysRus.

Paul Hopkins

The P8 is a good choice. The nimrod has always been a disaster, proven by the ease the mk2 was withdrawn from service and issues with the mk4 that meant it was never a sensible choice.

Gerald Wilson

According to the MoD press release the cost will be £3 bn over 10 years, so £330m per aircraft not the £250m stated. By the way MRA4 was cancelled to save £2 bn over 10 years.


That inhgsit would have saved us a lot of effort early on.