RAF Aircrew have commenced the flight simulator phase of training for the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
Pilots, Weapons System Officers, and Weapons Systems Operators have entered the simulator and flying phase of their six-month course for the P-8A Poseidon. Engineers at the Jacksonville, Florida Naval Air station are also progressing with training.
Personnel from the CXX Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth are being trained by a mix of US Navy and RAF P-8A ‘seedcorn’ one-way exchange instructors in a range of topics including anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Production of the aircraft is also progressing parallel to the training exercises.
In January the auxiliary fuel tanks were completed by Marshall Aerospace & Defence Group in Cambridge and the keel of the first UK P-8 was laid in Witchita, Kansas. Assembly of the aircraft then commenced in February with the fuselage competed at the end of March. The aircraft is expected to make its first flight in the summer of this year.
Production of the fuselage begun in the UK and was then taken 2,000 miles by train to the Boeing plant in Renton, Seattle for completion. The Poseidon is based on the Boeing 737-800NG aircraft and UK manufacturers have provided specialist sub-systems for the P-8A, for example, Marshalls (auxiliary fuel tanks), Martin Baker (crew seats), GE (Weapon Pylons) and GKN Aerospace (windshields).
A new strategic facility is also being constructed at RAF Lossiemouth, including a new hangar, alongside the production of the Poseidon. The RAF is expected to procure nine new aircraft which will be based at the facility, with construction due to be complete next year.
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