The first of nine ordered P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft has been delivered to the United Kingdom Royal Air Force by Boeing.
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The aircraft is being acquired through the Foreign Military Sales process with the US Navy, in order to replace the RAF’s retired Nimrod aircraft, at a cost of $5.6 billion.
“The arrival of the world-class Poseidon aircraft marks a step-change in the UK’s maritime patrol capability,” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.
“Using the world’s most advanced sensors and operating for long periods, these aircraft will transform the quality of intelligence available to our armed forces and protect our vital nuclear deterrent.”
The aircraft was formally delivered to the US Navy to the UK at Jacksonville Florida, where it will remain for the next few months before flying back to the United Kingdom.
On arrival, Michelle Sanders, DE&S Delivery Team Leader, signed the paperwork to formally transfer the aircraft, named Pride of Moray, to UK ownership.
“Poseidon is a game-changing maritime patrol aircraft, able to detect, track and if necessary destroy the most advanced submarines in the world today,” Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said.
“With Poseidon MRA1, I am delighted and very proud that the Royal Air Force will once again have a maritime patrol force working alongside the Royal Navy, securing our seas to protect our nation.”
The P-8 is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. In addition, the P-8 performs humanitarian and search and rescue missions around the globe.