Sunday, July 12, 2020

First British P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft makes maiden flight

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The first British P-8 Poseidon MRA Mk1 multi-role maritime patrol aircraft, equipped with sensors and weapons systems for anti-submarine warfare, performed its maiden flight on Friday from Boeing Field in Seattle.

The newest ZP801, the first Royal Air Force Poseidon – which will also carry the name Pride of Moray, a successful maiden flight on 12 July.

The Poseidon is based on the Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, the supply chain for which is already supported by UK industry, providing several hundred direct UK jobs. UK manufacturers also provide specialist sub-systems for the P-8A, for example Marshalls (auxiliary fuel tanks), Martin Baker (crew seats), GE (Weapon Pylons) and GKN Aerospace (windshields).

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A contract for P-8 development was granted in June 2004 and first flight followed on April 25, 2009. The US Navy announced initial operating capability on November 29, 2013 and the P-8 is now been widely delivered not only to US units, but also to the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.

The P-8A’s comprehensive mission system features an APY-10 radar with modes for high-resolution mapping, an acoustic sensor system, including passive and multi-static sonobuoys, electro-optical/IR turret and electronic support measures (ESM). This equipment delivers comprehensive search and tracking capability, while the aircraft’s weapons system includes torpedoes for engaging sub-surface targets.

The first Poseidon MRA Mk1 aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to the Royal Air Force, initially at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, in October 2019 and is due to arrive in the UK in early-Spring 2020.

Concurrently, the build of the Strategic Facility at RAF Lossiemouth is progressing well and by March the construction of the three-bay hangar has changed the skyline at the station. The facility is on schedule to be ready for use in the autumn of 2020.

The RAF will procure a total of nine aircraft which will be based at RAF Lossiemouth from late 2020.

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Executive Editor

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