RAF Lossiemouth and the P-8: Center of Coalition Maritime Domain Awareness Strike Capability


2017-01-27 Last year, in a visit to Norway, the UK Minister of Defence signed an agreement with Norway in the wake of Norway’s decision to procure the P-8. As we have written elsewhere about the P-8, it is a 21st century maritime domain awareness strike capability.


According to a story on the UK Ministry of Defence website published last November:

The UK and Norway have agreed on new cooperation on Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

With the coming of the P-8 to the RAF, the UK MoD is looking to ways to enhance its impact on defense in the North Sea and beyond.

Sir Michael, who visited Norway’s top military headquarters, close to the Arctic Circle on Thursday, announced that the UK and Norway would work closer on Maritime Patrol Aircraft cooperation, including in reducing costs and increasing operational effectiveness.

The UK announced that it would procure nine Boeing P8 MPA in last year’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The new capability, which will be based in Scotland, will allow for enhanced situational awareness in key areas such as the North Atlantic, and will also further increase the protection of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and our two new aircraft carriers.

Sir Michael also visited Norway’s Bodø Main Air Station, home of two F-16 squadrons and a squadron of Search and Rescue Sea King helicopters, where he signed a new agreement on host nation support for UK exercises in the country, further increasing the UK and Norway’s ability to exercise, train and operate together.

Mr. Fallon welcomed the fact that British armed forces undertake yearly winter training in Norway, particularly 3 Commando Brigade in Harstad and Evenes and elements of Joint Helicopter Command at Bardufoss.


Training and support to Norwegian and British P-8s are being boosted in turn by a new agreement with the Trump Administration in a prologue to the arrival of the British Prime Minister to Washington.

According to a story published on the UK Ministry of Defence website on January 25, 2017:

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin today signed a P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) declaration with her United States counterpart, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work to further strengthen the uniquely close defence relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States.

In 2019 the UK will receive delivery of its first Poseidon P-8A aircraft and both nations have committed to deepen their defence cooperation when operating in the North Atlantic region. Through seeking opportunities to share logistics and support bases and optimise the use of P-8A aircraft, particularly in Europe, the declaration should ensure increased value for money and operational effectiveness.

Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett 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 £178 billion Equipment Plan, the P-8A programme will provide us with enhanced surveillance capabilities.”

As leading members of NATO, the UK and US are committed to the collective defence of each other and their Allies. We have also pledged to deepen defence cooperation, bilaterally and within the Alliance, to further improve the ability to operate together in exercises and operations.

The declaration provides a new opportunity to maximise value for money for the taxpayer and continue to strengthen UK-US interoperability and to pursue efficiencies in operations and support, including at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, where the P-8A will bring some 400+ jobs. The Department of Defense and Ministry of Defence plan to cooperate closely on operation of their P-8A aircraft in the North Atlantic to ensure a coherent approach to MPA activity.

Delivering on the commitment of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the UK is purchasing nine Boeing P-8A Poseidon MPAs to be based in RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland. The aircraft will add to the UK’s surveillance capabilities, including conducting anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search and rescue and intelligence gathering…..


With the first P-8A aircraft due to arrive in the UK in 2019, the RAF has ensured that we have maintained the skills needed to operate these MPAs through the ‘seed-corn’ programme, which has embedded former RAF MPA operators within the MPA squadrons of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.

Air Commodore Ian Gale, Senior Responsible Owner for the Poseidon P-8A programme, said:

“This agreement will enhance the UK’s maritime patrol capability and further strengthen UK-US defence relations. The arrival of the Poseidon P-8A in 2019 will provide the UK with significantly increased capabilities and bring hi-tech employment to Scotland and the wider UK.”

This agreement follows Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon’s recent visit to Norway, where he also committed to cooperate on Maritime Patrol Aircraft operations, ensuring that the UK will continue to play a key role in delivering collective maritime security across the globe.


The first slideshow shows Defence Minister Fallon during a visit to Jax Navy in 2016 and the photos are credited to the US Navy.

The second slideshow shows P-8s in the Joint Warrior Exercise 2016 at Lossiemouth.

For our Special Report on RAF Lossiemouth and the way ahead for the RAF, see the following: