‘Viking’ – the first of Norway’s five P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft – arrived home at the Evenes Air Station after covering almost 7,000 kilometers from Seattle, USA, where it was built by Boeing.
The aircraft landed at 21:30 Norwegian time on February 24, after being officially handed over by Boeing in November 2021.
At the time, both Boeing and Norway said the first airframe would be named Vingtor, while the follow-on airframes would be named Viking, Ulabrand, Hugin and Munin. While unconfirmed, it is possible that the first delivered airframe, Vingtor, remained in the US for crew training.
The five P-8As will replace the current fleet of six P-3 Orions and two DA-20 Jet Falcons Norway, with the new airframes expected to start taking over tasks from their predecessors in 2023.
“The reception of the first maritime patrol aircraft is an important milestone for Norway and NATO, and will give us a modern and important capacity in the north. Together with the F-35, the Armed Forces will now have two strategically important capabilities, which will work together in the task of defending Norway,” says Rolf Folland, Chief of the Air Force.
“This is a goal we have been working towards for a long time. For just over two years, we have had this construction project at Evenes airport, and it is good to finally get the plane home to Norway,” Eirik Guldvog, head of the 133 Air Wing, which moved from Andøya Air Station to Evenes for the introduction of the P-8A.
By receiving its first airframe, Norway is joining the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Indian Navy and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force as the operator of the type. First deliveries to New Zealand, Korea and Germany will take place in 2022, 2023 and 2024 respectively.
The P-8A is a long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft developed for the US Navy. As a derivative of a modified Boeing 737-800ERX commercial liner, it is militarized with maritime weapons, an open mission system architecture and commercial-like support for affordability. The aircraft is modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons. It has two weapons stations on each wing and can carry sonobuoys. The Poseidon is also fitted with an in-flight refueling system.