The fifth P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft that was built for the Royal Air Force has arrived at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
The aircraft, named Fulmar, flew directly from Boeing Field near Seattle. It’s the first time that an RAF Poseidon has been delivered to Scotland straight from the factory and the crossing took just over eight hours.
Its arrival represents another milestone in the development of Lossiemouth’s maritime patrol capability and it comes at a time of unprecedented submarine activity, close to UK waters.
The name Fulmar is a nod to RAF Lossiemouth’s naval past. The station was called HMS Fulmar, itself named after a hardy sea bird, between 1946 and 1972.
“Monitoring and tracking all activity in seas around the United Kingdom is paramount to our security,” A Poseidon commander said. “The arrival of this latest aircraft helps to ensure that we have the continued capability to defend our waters and support our NATO partners.”
Boeing’s Poseidon MRA1 (P-8A) is a multi-role maritime patrol aircraft, equipped with sensors and weapons systems for anti-submarine warfare, as well as surveillance and search and rescue missions. It features an APY-10 radar for high-resolution mapping, an acoustic sensor system, an electro-optical / IR turret and electronic support measures (ESM).
The aircraft can also be armed with a weapons system that includes torpedoes for engaging sub-surface targets.
Nine Poseidon MRA Mk.1 aircraft have been ordered for the Royal Air Force. The service is expected to receive all nine aircraft by the end of 2021. The air force declared an initial operational capability for the aircraft in April 2020.
Poseidons will share their Lossiemouth home with the UK’s fleet of new Wedgetail airborne early warning (AEW) Mk1 surveillance aircraft. Both Poseidon and Wedgetail are based on Boeing’s commercial 737 model.