KINLOSS BARRACKS, SCOTLAND – The Royal Air Force (RAF) have landed their first Boeing P-8A Poseidon in the UK. The maritime patrol aircraft arrived at Kinloss Barracks in Scotland on February 4, 2019. This is the first of 9 aircraft that will be based at RAF Lossiemouth, located in north-east Scotland, and one of the largest and busiest air bases in the Royal Air Force and the only operational RAF station in Scotland.
The first RAF P-8A Poseidon was escorted by 2 RAF Typhoon FGR4s, before it touched down for the first time in the UK at Kinloss Barracks airfield – former RAF Kinloss Station and former home base of the Nimrod MR2 sea patrol and anti-submarine aircraft.
120 & 201 Squadron
No. 120 Squadron reformed in early 2018 and will be the first to be equipped with the Poseidon. At least 3 aircraft will be operational by April 2020. By February 2019 air and ground crews from the unit and the Poseidon Line Squadron had commenced training with US Navy squadron VP-30 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida.
No. 201 Squadron will reform as the second Poseidon unit in 2021. Both No. 120 and 201 Squadrons had operated Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol aircraft at RAF Kinloss.
Now the Poseidon has arrived in the UK, the RAF is expected to initially operate the maritime patrol aircraft from the airfield at Kinloss Barracks, before moving to their permanent home at RAF Lossiemouth, once preparation work for their arrival is complete.
RAF Lossiemouth is one of two main operating bases for the Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 in the UK with 4 squadrons operating the Typhoon, responsible for maintaining the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) North mission, 24/7, 365 days a year, to respond to unidentified aircraft approaching UK airspace.
The station is now also the home base of RAF’s new fleet of Boeing Poseidon P-8A maritime patrol aircraft (Poseidon MRA1 in RAF service), entering service this year.
Boeing P-8 Poseidon
The Boeing P-8A Poseidon is a military aircraft developed and manufactured by Boeing Defense, Space & Security. The Poseidon is a modified 737-800ERX and was developed for the U.S. Navy.
The P-8 is being operated in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction roles and is armed with torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other weapons.
The Poseidon is also able to drop and monitor sonobuoys – a small buoy (13 x 91cm or 5 inch x 3 ft) expendable sonar system, dropped/ejected from aircraft or ships conducting anti-submarine warfare or underwater acoustic research, and can operate in conjunction with other aircraft – like the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).
The P-8 is operated by the U.S. Navy, the Indian Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Poseidon has also been ordered by the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN).