Boeing announced in a press release today that has signed an agreement with the UK Ministry of Defence in order to support the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) fleet of Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft and train the crews that operate them.
“Our new Poseidon fleet continues to grow from strength to strength and is already defending the UK’s maritime interests at home and abroad,” said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. “This contract with Boeing Defence UK secures our critical submarine-hunting aircraft capabilities whilst also creating a home-grown training enterprise and creating over 150 British jobs.”
Under the aircraft and training support contract, valued at $321.6 million (£233.5 million), Boeing will provide maintenance services, spares and repairs, including tools and ground support equipment, as well as supply chain management, forecasting and inventory management, and airworthiness services for the RAF’s P-8 fleet.
The training element of the contract will offer a suite of training systems and courseware to prepare aircrew and maintainers to safely and effectively operate and maintain the fleet. Boeing will provide the flight instructors to train P-8A pilots, and under the terms of a subcontract, Burgess Hill-based CAE UK will create more jobs in the UK to provide rear crew and engineering instructors, and console operators and controllers who will perform role playing and support functions during training and mission rehearsal exercises.
These agreements will create 150 jobs in the UK, including more than 100 at RAF Lossiemouth in northern Scotland. Boeing employees are already working alongside RAF personnel at the station in Moray, supporting the current fleet of five Poseidons.
“The P-8A Poseidon brings the RAF critical reconnaissance capabilities, and we are proud to be a trusted partner in helping to keep RAF aircrew trained, and the P-8A mission ready,” said Anna Keeling, managing director of Boeing Defence UK. “We are excited to see our continued growing presence in Scotland with the creation of these highly-skilled jobs, in addition to our existing footprint of more than 2,500 employees across the UK, reaffirming our commitment to help strengthen the aerospace and defense sector in Scotland.”
The RAF is on contract for nine Poseidon aircraft with five already delivered and the remaining four scheduled for later this year, when around 200 Boeing employees are expected to be based at RAF Lossiemouth focused on maintenance, training and support.
The second of two Operational Flight Trainers, jointly developed by Boeing and CAE for the Poseidon fleet, arrived at RAF Lossiemouth last month. Both will be installed in the Boeing-built Strategic Facility, which accommodates three Poseidon aircraft, squadrons and mission support facilities.
The P-8A Poseidon supports maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and anti-ship warfare for the UK, and increases protection of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. More than a dozen UK-based suppliers produce components for the P-8, making up five percent of every P-8 aircraft around the world. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has built and delivered more than 900 auxiliary fuel tanks from its production facility in Cambridge.