The first of nine Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA Mk 1s for the RAF has made its maiden flight from Boeing’s Renton facility in Seattle.
The aircraft, to be registered ZP801 in UK service, made a 90 minute flight before touching down at nearby Boeing Field where its mission and other military systems will be installed.
“This is a great milestone in the UK P-8A Poseidon’s journey to the UK, as we are one step closer to its arrival in Scotland,” the RAF’s senior responsible owner for the P-8A program, Air Cdre Richard Barrow said in a statement. “The platform will enhance the UK’s maritime patrol capability with advanced, state-of-the-art technology.”
Following the integration of its systems, the RAF’s P-8As will initially train alongside USN P-8s at NAS Jacksonville in Florida in late 2019, before they move to their home base of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland in 2020.
“The first cadre of RAF engineers and aircrew have been trained on the P-8A Poseidon which marks the resurgence of the RAF’s long-range maritime patrol capability,” Air Cdre Barrow added. “This is an exciting time for the Royal Air Force especially for those based at RAF Lossiemouth.”
The UK joins six other nations in ordering or operating the P-8, including the US, India, Australia, Norway, South Korea and New Zealand.