The first Boeing P-8A Poseidon of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) took off from Renton, Washington, at the 10: 00 of the July 12, marking the inaugural flight of this first British P-8A.
During the 90 flight minutes various fundamental tests were carried out, before landing and moving the aircraft to the next phase of preparation that precedes delivery to the customer, with the installation of military systems.
The British Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the staff of the Royal Air Force, together with the leaders of the Boeing P-8 program, witnessed the take-off and landing of the newly painted aircraft, which carries the ZP801 number.
"This is a major milestone in the P-8A Poseidon's journey to the UK, as we are getting closer to its arrival in Scotland"said Air Commodore Richard Barrow, the UK's main P-8A program manager. "The platform will improve the UK's maritime patrol capability with advanced and cutting-edge technology".
The P-8A fleet Poseidon of the RAF will support maritime surveillance, the anti-submarine war, and anti-ship, increasing the protection of the aircraft carrier of the class Queen Elizabeth.
The first of the nine P-8As ordered by the UK will now move to the P-8 Installation and Checkout facility in Tukwila, Washington, where mission systems will be installed and further tests will be performed, before final delivery to the customer by the end of the year. When the plane is delivered, it will first fly to the US Naval Air Station Jacksonville for further preparation and training with UK personnel, before flying home to the UK. The RAF will take delivery of ZP801 by the end of the year and the aircraft will move to the UK at the start of the 2020.
The United Kingdom is one of the six international customers of the P-8A Poseidon. As a direct commercial sale, India has received eight aircraft of the P-8I variant to date, with another four in production. The US Navy has a contract to receive 111 aircraft, with potential for additional quantities based on fleet needs. As a cooperative partner with the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Program Office, Australia began receiving its P-8A aircraft in the 2016, with eight delivered and four others in production. Norway will begin to receive its five P-8As in the 2022. Both New Zealand and South Korea have signed agreements with the US Navy to purchase four and six aircraft respectively.