The British Royal Air Force (RAF) P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) has concluded a monitoring mission to shadow Russia’s Vasily Bykov ship in the North Sea.

P-8A Poseidon, from 120 Squadron based at Kinloss Barracks in Scotland, demonstrated its speed and readiness during its first operational mission.

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The aircraft concluded a prolonged overwatch of the Russian ship passing through the North Sea.

P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft was supported by RAF Lossiemouth-based Typhoon fighters and the RAF Brize Norton-based VIP Voyager refuelling aircraft.

UK Minister of State for Defence Baroness Goldie said: “In an increasingly unstable world of persistent challenge and competition, it is important that the UK Armed Forces possess cutting edge technology to meet threats wherever they emerge.

“The sight of our new Poseidon aircraft, working in concert with the Royal Navy, has showcased the UK’s readiness to defend its waters from any incursion.”

The P-8 Poseidon aircraft has a combination of tracking options and associated weapons to detect surface and sub-surface vessels.

This allows the RAF to efficiently conduct joint maritime operations with the Royal Navy.

Air Officer Commanding 11 Group Air Vice Marshal Ian Duguid said: “The RAF continues to evolve and develop as the Next Generation RAF becomes a reality.

“The Poseidon aircraft is a key part of that development and evidence of the hard work performed by all those involved.

“This mission by the Poseidon, to monitor Russian naval activity, shows how the RAF will now be able to contribute to maritime security alongside the Royal Navy and our Nato allies to secure the seas and skies.”

The RAF’s aircraft and the Royal Navy’s vessels continue to ensure the skies and seas around the UK are safeguarded by monitoring and tracking all activities.

The British Government is investing £470m ($612m) at RAF Lossiemouth to provide a station for the fleet of nine aircraft in Scotland.