LONDON — The U.K. Royal Air Force has formally declared an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of its brand-new Poseidon MRA Mk1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the RAF said in a release. The MRA Mk1 is the U.K. designation for the P-8A Poseidon flown by the U.S. Navy.
“The United Kingdom’s Poseidon fleet, currently comprising of two aircraft with seven more to be delivered, strengthens our maritime security, helping to protect our people and our interests, at home and overseas,” the release said.
“Poseidon will now be patrolling our seas, hunting potentially hostile submarines and helping to defend our nuclear deterrent. It uses the very latest in cutting-edge technology to detect, identify and monitor hostile contacts both above and below the waves. It can carry up to 129 sonobuoys to search for enemy submarines and can be armed with Mk54 torpedoes if required to attack enemy submarines.”
“It’s a really exciting time for us in this program, which is moving fast and the team at RAF Lossiemouth has delivered some great results in very quick time,” said Air Commodore Richard Barrow, Poseidon senior responsible owner.
“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.”
The Poseidon aircraft are operated by 54 Squadron and 120 Squadron, who are currently flying from Kinloss Airfield in Moray, Scotland.
The Poseidons will move to their permanent home at RAF Lossiemouth later this year once the refurbishment work on the runways and airfield infrastructure has been completed, including a new strategic facility. Number 201 Squadron will also stand up later this year.