Boeing to support Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft of British Air Force

According to information published on July 8, 2021, American company Boeing and the UK Ministry of Defence have signed an agreement for Boeing to support the British Royal Air Force’s (RAF) fleet of Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft and train the crews that operate them.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 P-8A Poseidon aircraft (ZP802), seen here on the newly finished Delta taxiways at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. (Picture source British MoD)

Under the aircraft and training support contract, valued at $321.6 million (£233.5 million), Boeing will 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 (Royal Air Force) P-8 fleet.

The training element of the contract will offer a suite of training systems and courseware to prepare aircrew and maintainers to safely and effectively operate and maintain the fleet. Boeing will provide the flight instructors to train P-8A pilots, and under the terms of a subcontract, Burgess Hill-based CAE UK will create more jobs in the UK to provide rear crew and engineering instructors, and console operators and controllers who will perform role playing and support functions during training and mission rehearsal exercises.

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.

The P-8A Poseidon supports maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and anti-ship warfare for the UK, and increases protection of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. 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.

In August 2012, it was reported that Boeing saw the United Kingdom as a market for the P-8. On 11 July 2016, Boeing announced the signing of a $3.87 billion (£3 billion) contract for nine P-8s and support infrastructure; spread across three production lots over a ten-year period, with deliveries commencing in 2019. The RAF has the service name Poseidon MRA1. The first Poseidon MRA1 made its initial flight on 13 July 2019. The UK took delivery of the first aircraft named Pride of Moray, at Boeing's Seattle facility on 29 October, the same year. The RAF declared the P-8 had reached initial operating capability (IOC) on 1 April 2020. As of February 2021, five of the nine aircraft have been delivered. 

Boeing’s Poseidon MRA1 (P-8A) is a multi-role maritime patrol aircraft that is equipped with sensors and weapons systems to conduct anti-submarine warfare missions, as well as surveillance and search and rescue missions. The aircraft is equipped with an APY-10 radar with modes for high-resolution mapping, an acoustic sensor system, including passive and multi-static sonobuoys, electro-optical/IR turret and electronic support measures (ESM). This equipment delivers comprehensive search and tracking capability, while the aircraft’s weapons system includes torpedoes for engaging sub-surface targets.