The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has declared an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of its brand-new multi-role maritime patrol aircraft Poseidon MRA Mk1.
P-8A Poseidon is equipped with sensors and weapons systems for anti-submarine warfare, as well as surveillance and search and rescue operations.
The multi-role maritime patrol aircraft can detect, identify and monitor hostile contacts both above and below waves. It can carry up to 129 sonobuoys to search for submarines and can be armed with Mk54 torpedoes.
The P-8A’s mission system features 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).
The UK’s Poseidon fleet, currently can rely on two aircraft with seven more to be delivered. The aircrafts are operated by 54 Squadron and 120 Squadron, who are currently deployed in Kinloss Airfield in Moray, Scotland. According to RAF, Poseidon will move to its permanent home at RAF Lossiemouth later this year. A second Poseidon squadron, Number 201 Squadron, is expected also to stand up later this year.
The Poseidon is an established and proven capability with the aircraft already in service and operated by the US Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. The Royal Norwegian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force have also decided to buy the Boeing P-8A Poseidon. We are looking forward to working closely with our Poseidon allies in the future as we introduce our new aircraft into service.
“We’ve just declared an initial operating capability for our Poseidon aircraft, on time on 1st April 2020. It’s a really exciting time for us in this programme, which is moving fast and the team at RAF Lossiemouth has delivered some great results in very quick time,” Air Commodore Richard Barrow, Poseidon Senior Responsible Owner said. “We’ve still got a long way to go with introducing this next generation capability into Service, but Poseidon is a game-changer, not just for hunting submarines but for a range of other roles from anti-ship warfare, maritime reconnaissance and long-range search and rescue tasks.”