A contract worth more than £230-million for the Royal Air Force (RAF)’s Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet has been signed with Boeing Defence UK (BDUK), creating more than 150 UK jobs. Specialising in anti-submarine warfare, the Poseidon (P-8A) is the RAF’s multi-role maritime patrol aircraft. Working alongside the Royal Navy and close maritime allies such as the United States and Norway, Poseidon locates, identifies and tracks potentially hostile submarines operating around UK waters. The majority of the 153 BDUK jobs will be based at RAF Lossiemouth – the Scottish home of the Poseidon fleet – and will provide aircraft maintenance support and personnel alongside a comprehensive training package for aircraft crews. The remaining 46 jobs will be spread across sites at Bristol, Yeovil and Gosport.
DE&S P-8A Poseidon team leader, Malcom French, said: “I am extremely proud of the P-8A delivery team and what is yet another example of great delivery by DE&S. Placed to a tight timescale and encompassing exacting requirements, this contract helps enable the full range of capability that Poseidon brings to be realised, sees our modern aircraft fully supported, and our personnel being trained from state-of-the-art facilities.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This contract with Boeing Defence UK secures our critical submarine-hunting aircraft capabilities whilst also creating a home-grown training enterprise and creating over 150 British jobs. Our new Poseidon fleet continues to grow from strength to strength and is already defending the UK’s maritime interests at home and abroad.”
Negotiated by DE&S, this latest contract builds on the £470m investment the Poseidon programme has already driven to RAF Lossiemouth and the local area, creating and sustaining jobs and boosting the local economy. The Poseidon fleet is operated from a £100m strategic facility at Lossiemouth, opened in September 2020. More than 300 jobs were supported during the facility’s construction. It has a three-bay hangar, accommodation for squadrons, training, mission support and two state-of-the art flight simulators. RAF Lossiemouth has also undergone a £75m upgrade to the runway and other operating surfaces. It will be the future home of the UK’s fleet of Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning surveillance aircraft, building on Scotland’s crucial role in UK and NATO defence and security.
Nine Poseidon, based on the Boeing 737-800, have already been ordered by the UK. Five aircraft named ‘Pride of Moray’, ‘City of Elgin’, ‘Terence Bulloch’, ‘Spirit of Reykjavik’ and ‘Fulmar’ are all now operating out of Lossiemouth, with four more to come later this year. The new investment in the Poseidon fleet is supported by the £24-billion increase to defence spending over the next four years and will ensure the aircraft can continue to undertake its vital role in securing our seas and combating rapidly evolving threats. The Boeing P-8 Poseidon (formerly Multimission Maritime Aircraft) is an American maritime patrol aircraft developed and produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX. It was developed for the United States Navy (USN).