A number of U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft are using Glasgow Prestwick Airport to patrol the North Atlantic.

Four P-8 Poseidon aircraft arrived this week according to Open Source Intelligence account Military Monitoring World on Twitter.

In case you don’t already, I’d recommend following Military Monitoring World here if you’re interested in Open Source Intelligence content like the above.

It is understood that the four P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft are operating from the airport patrolling the Greenland-Iceland-UK (GIUK) gap.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport, for anyone interested, is a passenger and freight airport serving the west of Scotland situated 32 miles from Glasgow. It is the less busy of the two airports serving the area, the busier one being Glasgow Airport.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport was purchased by the Scottish Government in November 2013 to protect jobs and safeguard a strategic infrastructure asset. The airport operates as a commercial business at an arm’s length from the Government.

The airport frequently hosts military aircraft crossing the atlantic or supporting exercises.

The UK’s fourth of nine P-8 arrived home to RAF Lossiemouth recently.

Image shows the Poseidon aircraft in the factory.
The fourth Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft was delivered to the RAF on Tuesday 3rd November 2020.

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

According to an RAF statement at the time:

“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.”

It is presumed that the US aircraft are not using the Lossiemouth base due to ongoing construction work on facilities to host additional P-8 aircraft.


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I remember the day, when we could police/patrol the Greenland/Iceland/Uk Gap ourselves…… Ahhh, they were the good old days…..

Steve P

Anyone have a view why they wouldn’t base out of Lossiemouth?


As it states at the end of the article “It is presumed that the US aircraft are not using the Lossiemouth base due to ongoing construction work on facilities to host additional P-8 aircraft.”


Of course, the USN couldn’t possibly be making a point about the UK’s lack of numbers. 🙂

Cheers CR


I don’t think its that – they know we are currently standing up a fleet – now wouldn’t be the time to make that point. Perhaps when all a/c are delivered and there still aren’t enough!

Blue Fuzz

The cynic in me says that the decision to go for Prestwick was nothing to do with its suitability as an operating location and everything to do with the availability of 4/5* accommodation in the local area (in short supply around Lossiemouth).

Nick C

Doesn’t Trump have a golf course and some hotels in the area? It could be just a coincidence, or am I just being cynical. Seriously even with the whole fleet of 9 aircraft we will be hard put to cover the the gaps on our own, which is why we need NATO. If we start playing more in the Indian Ocean and the far east we will need a heck of a lot more.


Weren’t those the days that the Navy gave up on having a presence beyond Suez too?


US and other forces have used Prestwick for decades. It’s an interesting airport to visit. My uncle took me around Southern Aviation in my youth, they were building the Twin Pioneer there at the time.


What was the purpose of the visit since we have our own fleet now?


Maybes training and integration?

We have only taken delivery of 1 so far or have more arrived?


Hi James…….I think no.4 arrived last week


Our fleet is too small to do the job even after all 9 arrive, pretty much as per the rest of the UK’s services after years of ‘peace dividend’.

We originally 60 Nimrod’s in the 1970’s. True to say that modern aircraft are more reliable so would spend less time in the hangar, but even so 9 does not replace 60 on a like for like capability measure.

Cheers CR


I’m sure that all the crews will have brought a set of golf clubs…..


Guys, don’t be so negative. US need to patrol Iceland as much as we do. With the fact that the airport at Keflavick is now more commercial than military, they obviously want somewhere to fly from. Prestwick is probably offering a good deal in regards to costs etc, as it allows the Scottish government to claim they are getting monies back having brought it the other year. As other have stated, it was for a long time the first/last stop for military flying from USA to Europe. I seem to recall that it was the only place in UK that… Read more »


The airport is currently (just checked) not flying any aircraft in or out . It is owned by the Scottish government and as such needs to pay its way, with a huge loss in revenue , the airport had to find ways in which to keep working, allowing the Yanks to do so, seems to be a short time solution and it would also allow a number of Hotels around the airport to make some money as well.

Clive F

Ever since the P8 was ordered, I’ve thought we should have built the operating base there rather than lossi. All weather runway, plenty of space for infrastructure, local 737 knowledge etc. Lossi is now overcrowded.