The U.S. and U.K. are teaming to maintain and operate their Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft at a Royal Air Force base in Scotland, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.
The Navy and the RAF will partner to create a logistics infrastructure for the P-8s at the RAF base in Lossiemouth, Scotland ahead of the delivery of the first U.K. Poseidons in 2019.
“Through seeking opportunities to share logistics and support bases and optimize the use of P-8A aircraft, particularly in Europe, the declaration should ensure increased value for money and operational effectiveness,” read the announcement.
The introduction of the P-8A to the U.K. comes as Russian activity in the region has been on the rise since 2014, Eric Wertheim — naval analyst and author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World — told USNI News on Thursday.
“The acquisition of P-8 Poseidon aircraft is an important step for the U.K. and helps the country address a major long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare gap that has existed since the 2010 retirement of the RAF Nimrod MR.2 and cancellation of the planned MRA.4 replacement aircraft,” he said.
“In light of increasingly aggressive Russian naval activities throughout NATO’s area of responsibility, as well as other challenges such as the European migrant crisis, the planned arrival of the Britain’s P-8s and the continued strong coordination between the U.S., U.K. and also other NATO countries is a definite step in the right direction.”
The U.K. laid out its P-8 plan in its 2015 Strategic Defense and Security Review. In August, Boeing was been awarded a $68.4 million long lead item contract for the first two P-8s for
“The arrival of the Poseidon P-8A in 2019 will provide the U.K. with significantly increased capabilities and bring hi-tech employment to Scotland and the wider U.K.,” said Air Commodore Ian Gale, senior responsible owner for the Poseidon P-8A program.
“This agreement will enhance the U.K.’s maritime patrol capability and further strengthen U.K.-U.S. defense relations.”