Boeing and CAE to support RAF’s Poseidon fleet

The UK Ministry of Defence has signed an agreement with Boeing to support the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) fleet of Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft and provide crew and maintainer training.

Announced on July 8, the US$321.6m aircraft and training support contract will see Boeing provide maintenance services, spares and repairs, including tools and ground support equipment, as well as supply chain management, forecasting and inventory management, and airworthiness services for the RAF’s P-8 fleet.

MRA1 Poseidon
The UK will eventually field a total of nine MRA1 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, tasked with securing the country's strategic deterrent and regional waters. UK MOD/Crown copyright

The training element of the contract will offer a suite of training systems and courseware to prepare aircrew and maintainers to operate the fleet. Boeing will provide flight instructors to train P-8A pilots, while CAE UK will provide rear crew and engineering instructors, and console operators and controllers who will perform support functions during training and rehearsal exercises.

Ben Wallace, UK Secretary of State for Defence, said the contract “secures our critical submarine hunting aircraft capabilities” while also serving to create more than 150 jobs.

A CAE release published on July 13 stated that the subcontract agreement with Boeing would run for five years.

The RAF is on contract for nine Poseidon aircraft with five already delivered and the remaining four scheduled for later this year, when around 200 Boeing employees are expected to be based at RAF Lossiemouth focused on maintenance, training and support.

The second of two Operational Flight Trainers, jointly developed by Boeing and CAE for the Poseidon fleet, arrived at RAF Lossiemouth last month. Both will be installed in the Boeing-built Strategic Facility, which accommodates three Poseidon aircraft, squadrons and mission support facilities.

More than a dozen UK-based suppliers produce components for the P-8, making up five percent of every P-8 aircraft around the world. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has built and delivered more than 900 auxiliary fuel tanks from its production facility in Cambridge.