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RAF P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft to be Known as 'Poseidon MRA Mk.1'

The Royal Air Force announced on its Twitter account that the UK’s new maritime patrol aircraft will be formally known in RAF service as the Poseidon MRA Mk.1.

Poseidon MRA Mk.1. Artist impression of a Royal Air Force Poseidon MRA Mk.1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. British MoD image.

"The MRA reflects the types of missions it will undertake – maritime, reconnaissance, attack. Nine Poseidons currently on order will be stationed at RAF Lossiemouth from 2020." the tweet says.

The nine Poseidons will be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson cut the first turf on a £132m facility for the new fleet in April 2018. The new facility will be completed in 2020, to coincide with initial operating capability of the Poseidon aircraft being available in the UK.

Built by Elgin-based Robertson Northern, it will comprise a tactical operations centre, an operational conversion unit, squadron accommodation, training and simulation facilities and a three-bay aircraft hangar.

At the peak of construction, the project will support 200 local jobs. When the fleet is fully operational, some 470 additional service personnel will be based at RAF Lossiemouth, taking the total number of people employed there to 2,200. Further roles are also expected when the training and support services are established at the new facility.

RAF P 8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft to be Known as Poseidon MRA Mk.1Artist impression of a Royal Air Force Poseidon MRA Mk.1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. British MoD image.

The U.S. Navy accepted its 50th P-8A Poseidon in January this year. The U.S. Navy P-8A program of record calls for a total requirement for 117 of the 737-based anti-submarine warfare jets. In July 2016, The UK Ministry of Defence confirmed the deal to purchase nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) for the Royal Air Force. The Norwegian Ministry of Defence announced in November 2016 its intent to replace its ageing fleet of six P-3 Orion (four P-3C for ASW & two P-3N for SAR) and its three Dassault DA-20 ECM aircraft with five Boeing P-8A Poseidon MPA. Poseidon is also being fielded with the Indian Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and has been selected by New Zealand and South Korea.

In may this year, the UK and Norway advanced their plans for international Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) co-operation in the North Atlantic. The allies ramped up discussions around how the nations will work together and might deploy their submarine-hunting aircraft fleet in the future. Areas of co-operation could range from maintenance to training and operations, which would not only cut costs but also boost operational power in the North Atlantic, a key area of submarine activity.

Based on Boeing’s Next-Generation 737-800 commercial airplane, the P-8A Poseidon offers advanced anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.