Boeing has delivered the first of nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to the United Kingdom Royal Air Force (RAF). The United Kingdom is acquiring the multi-mission aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process with the U.S. Navy. The P-8A Poseidon replaces the U.K.’s retired Nimrod aircraft.
The P-8 is a derivative of the 737NG and is built in-line on the 737 production line in Renton, Wash., taking advantage of the efficiencies and economies of scale of that production system. From Renton, it moves to the defense facility in Tukwila, Wash., where military systems are installed and tested before delivery to the customer.
Boeing formally delivered the aircraft on Oct. 29 to the U.S. Navy during a ceremony at the Boeing Military Delivery Center in Tukwila, Wash. From Tukwila, the Washington-built aircraft flew to the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, where U.S. Navy leaders officially turn the aircraft over to the United Kingdom. At JAX, Royal Air Force crew will work with the aircraft before flying it to the United Kingdom in January 2020. All nine P-8A aircraft will be based at Lossiemouth, Scotland.
Speaking to attendees at the delivery ceremony, Air Marshal Andrew Turner, deputy commander for Capability for the Royal Air Force, spoke of the “profound challenge” of enemy submarines threatening the U.K. and other nations. “P-8 is the key to solving this challenge on the surface, the sub-surface and in the waters of the North Atlantic. There is no place [for our enemies] to hide. We will make the oceans transparent and we will prevail.”
The P-8 is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. In addition, the P-8 performs humanitarian and search and rescue missions around the globe.
By Nanette Feeney