The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) will receive its first submarine-hunting Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft, named "Pride of Moray," today.
"The new submarine-hunting Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft arrived in the UK today at Kinloss (39 Engineer Regiment) in Scotland. The P-8A Poseidon Pride of Moray is the first of 9 aircraft that the RAF will introduce to patrol the waters around the UK," the Air Force said in a statement on Tuesday.
"ZP801 Pride of Moray has landed – welcome to the UK! Congratulations to RAF on your first P-8A aircraft," Boeing posted on its official Twitter account.
The aircraft is the first of a new £3 billion programme, including the purchase of 9 Poseidon jets. All nine UK Poseidons will be delivered to the RAF by the end of 2021 and achieve full operational capability from RAF Lossiemouth in 2024. The aircraft will be flown initially by 120 Squadron, the leading anti-submarine warfare squadron in World War 2, with 201 Squadron joining the programme in due course.
The Poseidon will temporarily operate from Kinloss until October 2020 while £75 million of planned runway and taxiway resurfacing works is completed at Lossiemouth by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
The aircraft will protect the UK’s continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent and be central to NATO missions across the North Atlantic, co-operating closely with the US and Norwegian Poseidon fleets, RAF said.
The Poseidon is designed to carry out extended surveillance missions at high and low altitudes. The aircraft is equipped with sensors which use high-resolution area mapping to find both submarines and surface vessels.
Each aircraft carries sonobuoys which are dropped from the aircraft into the sea to search for enemy submarines, surveying the battlespace under the sea and relaying data back to the aircraft.
Poseidon will also be armed with Harpoon anti-surface ship missiles and Mk 54 torpedoes capable of attacking both surface and sub-surface targets.