UK and Norway advance cooperation on maritime patrol aircraft

4 May 2018 (Last Updated May 4th, 2018 12:38)

UK and Norway defence ministers have held a discussion on how the two countries will work in collaboration to advance the international Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) programme in North Atlantic.

UK and Norway advance cooperation on maritime patrol aircraft
Defence delegates boarding a P8-A Poseidon at RAF Lossiemouth. Credit: Crown Copyright.

UK and Norway defence ministers have held a discussion on how the two countries will work in collaboration to advance the international Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) programme in North Atlantic.

Both ministries have agreed to cooperate on several different areas, ranging from maintenance to training and operations, in order help reduce costs and strengthen the operational power of submarines deployed in the region.

The Royal Navy is expected to acquire a fleet of Boeing-built aircraft to safeguard the country’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent, as well as the two newest Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.

The P-8A Poseidon aircraft is equipped with sonobuoys that enable it to detect submarines.

"These sub-hunters will take to the skies from RAF Lossiemouth and help us combat a range of intensifying threats, not least increasing submarine activity in the North Atlantic."

In addition, the jet has the ability to fire anti-ship missiles and launch torpedoes to effectively destroy submarine targets.

The UK Government is currently procuring a total of nine P-8A Poseidon aircraft, while Norway has agreed to acquire five units of the jet.

UK Defence Minister Guto Bebb said: “These sub-hunters will take to the skies from RAF Lossiemouth and help us combat a range of intensifying threats, not least increasing submarine activity in the North Atlantic.

“We’re investing £3bn in our own capability, but working alongside Norway takes this to a higher level.

“Not only could we cut costs by sharing training, spares and repair facilities, but we can patrol the seas together, meaning we’ve got more eyes and ears on any potential aggressors.”

The ongoing MPA submarine-hunting programme recently saw the flight of a US P-8A Poseidon aircraft from the Royal Air Force military airfield RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, which is expected to serve as the base for the UK’s planned P-8A fleet.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson previously launched the new £132m Lossiemouth facility for the Royal Navy’s P-8A Poseidon MPA in April.

The new site is slated for completion in 2020 and is expected to support 200 local jobs during its peak construction period.

Furthermore, almost 470 additional service personnel are set to be based at RAF Lossiemouth once the aircraft fleet is fully operational.