US-based aerospace and defense giant Boeing has delivered the first operational flight trainer (OFT) for the United Kingdom’s submarine-hunting Poseidon P-8A aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth.
Transported by an Antonov AN-124 from Orlando International Airport in Florida to Glasgow Prestwick Airport, the full-scale Poseidon cockpit replica traveled more than 200 miles by road from Prestwick to RAF Lossiemouth, where it will be installed in the strategic facility.
In addition to the two flight training simulators, the facility also will hold numerous other training devices, three of the RAF’s nine Poseidon aircraft, accommodation for three squadrons and mission support facilities. From Autumn 2020, RAF Lossiemouth will be the headquarters of the UK’s submarine-hunting Poseidon MRA Mk1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet.
Known as an OFT, the simulator is provided by Boeing but originally manufactured by CAE. It is 7.39m long, 4.01m wide, 3.73m high and weighs 9,545.45kg (9.5t).
“The OFT simulators provide training specifically for the pilots who will be flying the Poseidon aircraft. They also have the compatibility to link up with the mission simulators used by the rear crew, allowing them to train together,” said Mark Corden, project manager for training in the Poseidon delivery team at Defence Equipment & Support.
“The weight of the simulator is not such an issue. It’s the width and height, which make it too big to be transported by any RAF aircraft, such as a C-130J, A400M or C-17. The Antonov is one of only a few aircraft in the world large enough to transport it.”
The Royal Air Force expects to welcome all of its nine Poseidons in the UK by the end of 2021. The first, named Pride of Moray, touched down on UK soil in February. It was closely followed by the second, named City of Elgin, a month later. Both aircraft are currently flying from nearby Kinloss Airfield until the Strategic Facility and runway at RAF Lossiemouth are formally opened later this year.