Second RAF Poseidon arrives in the UK

The second Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft for the Royal Air Force (RAF) has arrived in the UK.

The aircraft – serial ZP802 (c/n 64176/7642) City of Elgin – operated by No 120 Squadron, arrived at Kinloss Barracks on the Moray Firth in northern Scotland on March 13.

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Poseidon MRA1 - serial ZP801 (c/n 64176/7642) - arrives at Kinloss Barracks on March 13. MoD Crown Copyright/SAC Ciaran McFalls

Kinloss is a former RAF station, previously home to UK maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) operations. In 2012, it was handed over to the British Army’s Royal Engineers. Its runway is maintained as a relief landing ground for aircraft operating from nearby RAF Lossiemouth, which is currently undergoing runway resurfacing work and will be the permanent home of the UK’s Poseidon Force – consisting of No 120 Squadron and No 201 Squadron – later this year.

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ZP802 taxis by after landing at Kinloss Barracks. MoD Crown Copyright/SAC Ciaran McFalls

The Poseidon is designed to perform extended surveillance missions at low and high altitudes. It will be able to provide high-resolution area mapping to find surface vessels and submarines using its integrated sensors. The UK's P-8 fleet – which will comprise nine aircraft – will also be a core defence in the UK’s continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent and will be used to work with allies across NATO such as the US and Norway.

The UK’s Poseidon MRA1 fleet will employ Raytheon’s AN/APY-10 maritime, littoral and overland surveillance radar, which provides the aircraft with high-resolution mapping, an acoustic sensor system, an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) turrey and electronic support measures (ESM), along with passive and multi-static sonobuoys. The system gives the P-8 a comprehensive search and tracking capability. It will also be equipped with torpedoes for engaging sub-surface targets. The RAF states that the aircraft is “equipped with US weapons, although British weapons may be integrated in [the] future”.

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ZP802 taxis towards Poseidon MRA1, serial ZP801 (c/n 64175/7532) - the first example to arrive in the UK. MoD Crown Copyright/SAC Ciaran McFalls