A Royal Air Force Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft has released a torpedo for the first time. In a training flight conducted over the Moray Firth a Poseidon (P-8A) aircraft operated by 120 Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, dropped a recoverable exercise variant of the Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo, simulating an attack on a submarine. At just under 3m long and 32cm in diameter, the Mk 54 torpedo is small and light enough that five can be carried in the Poseidon’s internal weapons bay.
The high-explosive warheads on the live torpedoes pack a devastating punch sufficient to destroy enemy submarines that the Poseidon crew can locate and track using state-of-the-art equipment. The successful release of a torpedo is the latest milestone in the rapid development of the Poseidon in RAF service. The station, which is situated in close proximity to one of the aircraft’s most frequent area of operations, is benefiting from a multi-million pound investment programme bringing significant economic benefits to the Highlands & Islands and Morayshire communities.
“It’s been a great privilege to witness the hard work of so many talented individuals across the Royal Air Force, civil service and industry partners come together to enable us to launch and recover this torpedo. This exercise has proved everything is in place for our weapon technicians to rapidly get these torpedoes onto our aircraft, so we can deliver them wherever and whenever they are needed,” said Squadron Leader Higgins, Torpedo Project lead.
Five Poseidon MRA1s are based at RAF Lossiemouth with a further four set to be delivered by the end of this year. The Poseidon is fitted with advanced, state-of-the-art, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare sensors which will provide global protection to UK, NATO and our Allies’ submarines and warships in an increasingly dangerous world. Watch Wing Commander James Hanson, Commanding Officer of 120 Squadron, discuss his experience of dropping the first torpedo from a Poseidon (P-8A).