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First Operation for RAF Poseidon tracking Russian Warship

A P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft shadowed a Russian warship in the North Sea near to UK waters


RAF P-8A Poseidon overflys Vasily Bykov over the North Sea.
RAF P-8A Poseidon overflys Vasily Bykov over the North Sea.

August 7, 2020: A Royal Air Force (RAF) P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) completed its first operational mission this week shadowing a Russian warship in the North Sea near to UK waters.


On Monday morning, a P-8A Poseidon from 120 Squadron based at Kinloss Barracks demonstrated its speed and readiness by completing a prolonged overwatch of the Russian warship, Vasily Bykov, as it passed through the North Sea. It did so with support from Typhoon Fighters, based at RAF Lossiemouth and the VIP Voyager refuelling aircraft, stationed at RAF Brize Norton.


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 Poseidon’s operational debut follows shortly after the Prime Minister’s visit to Kinloss Barracks last month and heralds a significant development in the UK’s Maritime offensive and defensive capabilities. The P-8 offers a potent blend of tracking options and associated weapons able to find surface and sub-surface vessels, once more allowing the RAF to complete effective joint maritime operations with the Royal Navy.


Air Vice-Marshal Ian Duguid, Air Officer Commanding 11 Group, 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.

Monitoring and tracking all activity in the airspace and seas around the United Kingdom is paramount to our security, with aircraft from the RAF and vessels from the RN ensuring our skies and seas are constantly patrolled and defended.


Working with the aerospace and construction industries £470M is being invested by the UK Government at RAF Lossiemouth to provide a state of the art home for the Fleet of 9 aircraft in Scotland.

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