Royal Air Force (RAF) has declared the Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of its new Boeing MRA Mk1 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, currently comprised of two aircraft, the RAF said.
The UK´s Poseidon fleet will add seven additional aircraft, which will strengthen maritime security, helping to protect people and interests at home and overseas.
Poseidon will now be patrolling the seas, hunting potentially hostile submarines and helping to defend nuclear deterrent. It detects, identifies and monitors 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.
RAF has declared an initial operating capability for Poseidon aircraft, which will not only hunt submarines, but fill 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, currently flying from Kinloss Airfield in Moray, Scotland. Poseidon will move to its permanent home at RAF Lossiemouth later this year once the refurbishment work on the runways and airfield infrastructure has been completed, including the new Strategic Facility which is being delivered by Defence Equipment and Support. Its second Poseidon squadron, Number 201 Squadron, will also 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.