The UK has enhanced its maritime patrol capability by signing a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) declaration with the US, in a move set to strengthen defence relations between the two nations.
Signed by UK Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin and US Defense Deputy Secretary Bob Work, the deal will see both countries share logistics and support bases, as well as optimise the use of P-8A aircraft, particularly in Europe.
The arrangement comes after UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon agreed to cooperate on MPA operations during his recent visit to Norway, and ensure the UK continues to plays a key role in delivering collective maritime security worldwide.
Work said: “Today's signing of the declaration on P-8A Poseidon Bilateral Cooperation exemplifies the importance and strength of the US-UK partnership.
“Together, the US and UK will continue to deter regional threats and maintain a robust military posture.”
The UK will take delivery of the first Boeing P-8A Poseidon MPA in 2019.
Baldwin said: “The United States is our pre-eminent ally in global defence and collective security. This declaration is further evidence of how our two countries continue to cooperate and build mutual security, particularly in the North Atlantic region.
“Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178bn Equipment Plan, the P-8A programme will provide us with enhanced surveillance capabilities.”
The UK is purchasing nine P-8A Poseidon MPAs in total, which will be based at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland.
The aircraft will be used for conducting anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search-and-rescue operations, as well as intelligence gathering.
Procurement of the MPA is expected to create more than 400 jobs at RAF Lossiemouth.