New maritime patrol aircraft to be based at Lossiemouth

Nine P-8A Poseidon planes will protect Trident and aircraft carriers. Picture: contributed
Nine P-8A Poseidon planes will protect Trident and aircraft carriers. Picture: contributed
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Nine maritime patrol aircraft will be based in Moray as part of a £3 billion, ten-year partnership between the UK government and Boeing.

The Ministry of Defence said the P-8A Poseidon planes will be based at RAF Lossiemouth, creating more than 100 jobs, to help protect the Trident nuclear weapons system and the UK’s two new aircraft carriers.

A new £100 million support and training base for the planes will be built at the base.

The planes will fill a gap in the UK’s defence capabilities that has existed since 2010 when new Nimrod reconnaisance aircraft were cancelled. Many of the new Nimrods were largely built when they were scrapped, which led to the conversion of RAF Kinloss into an Army base.

Boeing will also deliver 50 Apache AH-64E attack helicopters to the British Army under the agreement signed between the US and UK governments.

The collaboration between the UK and Boeing announced at the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire is expected to create a total of 2,000 jobs - doubling the US giant’s UK workforce.

Boeing said it will make the UK its European base for training, maintenance, repair and overhaul across its defence fixed-wing and rotary platforms.

It also pledged to increase the bid opportunities it offers to UK suppliers in an attempt to double their work with the manufacturer.

A further £365 million worth of aerospace research and development projects have been approved to boost the UK’s position in the sector.

David Cameron said: “Whatever uncertainties our country faces, I want the message to go out loud and clear: the UK will continue to lead the world in both civil and defence aerospace.

“We aren’t just open for investment, we are a place the global aerospace industry wants to do business – as Boeing’s long-term partnership with the UK proves.

“It’s also important to put government investment where it counts. That’s why we are jointly funding the new R&D fund with the aerospace industry and why I’m pleased we have today signed the contract for nine new P8 maritime patrol aircraft for the Royal Air Force, underlining the UK’s commitment to spending on vital defence.”

The P-8As can operate at long range without refuelling and have the endurance to carry out high and low-level maritime and land surveillance for extended periods.