British P-8A Poseidon MRA1 drops first torpedo

A recoverable exercise variant (REXTORP) Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo was dropped for the first time from a No 120 Squadron Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft over the Moray Firth, near RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland - the home of the Royal Air Force’s (RAF's) P-8A fleet - in late July.

Poseidon MRA1 - serial ZP805 (c/n 65754), nicknamed 'Fulmar' - was used to conduct the training exercise, simulating an attack on a submarine. The REXTORP measures at 3m in length and has a diameter of 32cm enabling the Poseidon to carry a total of five in its weapon bay at one time.

P-8A Poseidon MRA1
Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 - serial ZP805 'Fulmar - was the first example of the RAF's new maritime patrol aircraft fleet to release a torpedo. The event occurred during a training sortie over the Moray Firth, Scotland, in late July. MOD Crown Copyright/Cpl Adam Fletcher 

The rationale of this mission was to prove that the Poseidon fleet of the RAF can complete the end-to-end process of tasking and launching from the aircraft.

Torpedo Project Lead, Sqn Ldr Dave Higgins said: “It’s been a great privilege to witness the hard work of so many talented individuals across the Royal Air Force, civil service and industry partners come together to enable us to launch and recover this torpedo.

"This exercise has proved everything is in place for our weapon technicians to rapidly get these torpedoes onto our aircraft, so we can deliver them wherever and whenever they are needed.”

The RAF currently has a five-strong fleet of Poseidon MRA1 at RAF Lossiemouth to provide provide maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities to NATO, with a further four aircraft to be delivered to 120 Squadron later this year.