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RAF conduct flying phase of P-8A Poseidon training

Posted 24 April 2019 · Add Comment

RAF aircrew have commenced the flying phase of training to fly Boeing's Poseidon MRA Mk1 (P-8A), the UK’s new maritime patrol aircraft.



Above: Low level flying in the P-8A.
Courtesy RAF

 
Pilots, Weapons System Officers and Weapons Systems Operators have entered the simulator and flying phase of their six-month course.

Meanwhile engineering personnel are similarly progressing through their course at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida.



Above: P-8A weapons lesson at US Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Florida.
Courtesy RAF


The personnel, from CXX Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, are being trained by a mix of US Navy and RAF P-8A ‘seedcorn’ one-way exchange instructors on a course which covers a substantial range of topics. This includes being trained to fly at medium and low level over the sea, so that the mission crew can train in Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare.

In parallel to the training activity, aircraft production is continuing. In January the auxiliary fuel tanks were completed by Marshall Aerospace & Defence Group in Cambridge and the keel of the first UK P-8 was laid in Witchita, Kansas. Assembly of the aircraft then commenced in February with the fuselage completed at the end of March.



Above: Air Cdre Gale signing the keel beam of the first P-8A in February this year.
Courtesy RAF


Once complete the fuselage of the first UK Poseidon was taken by train some 2,000 miles to the Boeing Plant at Renton, Seattle where assembly will be completed. The aircraft is expected to conduct its first flight this summer.



Above: P-8A on track.
Courtesy RAF

The Poseidon is based on the Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, the supply chain for which is already supported by UK industry, providing several hundred direct UK jobs. UK manufacturers also provide specialist sub-systems for the P-8A, for example Marshalls (auxiliary fuel tanks), Martin Baker (crew seats), GE (Weapon Pylons) and GKN Aerospace (windshields).

Concurrently, the build of the Strategic Facility at RAF Lossiemouth is progressing well and by March the construction of the three-bay hangar has changed the skyline at the station. The facility is on schedule to be ready for use in the autumn of 2020.



Above: The Strategic Facility at RAF Lossiemouth is set to be operational towards the end of next year.
Courtesy RAF


The RAF will procure a total of nine aircraft which will be based at RAF Lossiemouth from late 2020.


 

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