Tag Archives: P-8

Royal Air Force P-8A Poseidons one step closer

As a follow-up on the statement in the UK startegic defense review, announced by UK prime minister David Cameron in November last year, the UK government has now requested notification for the possible procurement of up to nine (9) P-8A Patrol Aircraft, associated major defense equipment, associated training, and support. The estimated cost is $3.2 billion.

This was announced by the US State Department on 25 March 2016. The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for P-8A Aircraft and associated equipment, training, and support. The estimated cost is $3.2 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on 24 March 2016.

The proposed sale will allow the UK to reestablish its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) capability that it divested when it cancelled the Nimrod MRA4 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) program. The United Kingdom has retained core skills in maritime patrol and reconnaissance following the retirement of the Nimrod aircraft through Personnel Exchange Programs (PEPs). The MSA has remained the United Kingdom’s highest priority unfunded requirement. The P-8A aircraft would fulfill this requirement. The UK will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.

Implementation of the proposed sale will require approximately sixty-four (64) personnel hired by Boeing to support the program in the United Kingdom.

The US Navy is the main user of the P-8A Poseidon, but also the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force (both 8 examples, maybe even 12) also bought this machine.

© 2016 DSCA, with additional information by Airheadsfly.com editor Dennis Spronk
Featured image: The 6th Boeing P-8I for the Indian Navy (Image © Boeing)

US Navy plans return to Iceland

The US Navy plans a return to Iceland if the most recent budget plans are anything to go by. The plans call for modifications to US facilities at Keflavik airbase in order to host the US Navy’s newest maritime patrol aircraft, the Boeing P-8 Poseidon.

Kevlavik was closed as an active US airbase in 2006 after being home to P-3 Orion patrol aircraft for years and a squadron of F-15 Eagles until the early nineties. Currently, the airfield sees use as a NATO airfield, hosting fighter jets for Iceland Air Policing duties every now and then. The airfield also doubles as Iceland’s civil international airport.

Submarines

The budget request involves funds for modifying hangars and other installations at Keflavik. The P-8 Poseidon gradually replaces the P-3 in the maritime mission, looking for and hunting submarines. The US Navy has ordered 78 Poseidons, with 33 aircraft already delivered.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A US Navy P-8 Poseidon, one of 78 ordered. (Image © Boeing)

British buy P-8 Poseidon, extra life for Typhoon

In a long awaited announcement, UK prime minister David Cameron on Monday 23 November stated the UK is buying nine Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft as part of a strategic defense review. The decision ends a long period of uncertainty about which aircraft should follow in the footsteps of the famed but retired Nimrod. Futhermore, the UK is creating two more Typhoon squadrons.

The Poseidons will be based at Lossiemouth airbase in Scotland and provide the UK with a much needed longe range submarine hunting capability, search and rescue coverage and other maritime duties. The UK joins the US, India and Australia in operating the type. The Japanese Kawasaki P-1 patrol aircraft was also in the race to replace the Nimrod, but an unlikely candidate from the start.

Typhoon

A statement also says the UK will extend the life of multirole Typhoon fighter aircraft for 10 extra years through to 2040, meaning the Royal Air Force will be able to create 2 additional squadrons. This gives the British a total of frontline 7 squadrons, consisting of around 12 aircraft per squadron. Downing Street also announced an investment in Typhoon’s ground attack capability, plus the addition of the latest Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

F-35

According to sources, London is also said to soon purchase up to 24 F-35B Lightnings to equip its two future aircraft carriers. So far, the British have ordered only ten aircraft, with three already delivered. In total, the UK is planning to get 138 F-35Bs over the next two decades, fulfilling an commitment for the 5th generation and stealthy aircraft made earlier.

Panavia Tornado

Also on the fast jet front, the Panavia Tornado is to retire in 2019, when the final two squadrons hand in their aircraft. Furthermore, 14 out of 24 C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft will remain in service between 2022 and 2030 to serve alongside new Airbus A400M airlifters.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Stealing Thunder: Paris preview

UPDATED 10 June | One week prior to the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, it’s clear that Pakistan stole everybody’s thunder by sending over three JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft. The aircraft left Pakistan for France on Sunday 7 June. Le Bourget kicks off on Monday 15 June, with other high lights being the Bombardier CSeries and a sizable delegation from both Boeing and – remarkably – Qatar Airways.

Update 10 June: Airbus has confirmed an Airbus A400M will take part in the flying display. The company says it has complete confidence in the aircraft

The JF-17 is a joint endeavour by Pakistan and China, both already operating significant numbers of the type, although the Chinese prefer to call it the JC-1. Several countries have shown interest in the type, Argentina reportedly being one of them. One JF-17 will be on static display at Le Bourget, while the other two will be used for a solo flying display.

Bombardier
The Paris Air Show marks the debut of the Bombardier CS100 and CS300 airliners, both still in development and in need of customers. Swiss was officialy announced as launch customer for the CS100 earlier this year, with deliveries commencing no sooner than next year.

First flight of the Bombardier CSseries on September 16, 2013 (Image © Bombardier Aerospace)
First flight of the Bombardier CSseries on September 16, 2013 (Image © Bombardier Aerospace)

Boeing
On the military side of things, Boeing will bring a CH-47F Chinook, P-8A Poseidon and F-15E to Paris. The no-show of the F/A-18 Super Hornet is noteworthy, as the type is rumoured to have drawn interest from Kuwait. Other sources mention Kuwait is now eyeing the Eurofighter Typhoon, however. The P-8A is a serious contender for the UK, with an order on the cards in the not too distant future. Boeing will also present a 787-900 Dreamliner in Vietnam Airlines colours, plus a China Airlines 777-300ER.

For the US, an A-10C Thunderbolt tank killer should also pay a visit to Le Bourget. The type is currently deployed in Europe and the focus of a Boeing-effort of selling used airframes to interested nations.

(Image © Boeing)
Boeing sends one 787-9. Qatar Airways however also has a Dreamliner in display in Paris. (Image © Boeing)
Final approach at Spangdahlem of one of a dozen A-10s the USAF sent to Europe in light of Russia rising (Image © Dennis Spronk)
One of a dozen A-10s the USAF sent to Europe in light of Russia rising (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Airbus
Closer to home, Airbus is dispatching a A350XWB and an A380 to Le Bourget. It is uncertain if the Airbus A400M will be present at all after the fatal crash on 9 May in Seville, Spain. Airbus Helicopters will show a lot of its portfolio during the show

The Russians stear well clear of this year’s airshow.  Ukrainian aircraft designer Antonov is taking the opportunity to present its new An-178, only a month after the type’s first flight.

Qatar
Quite remarkable is the presence of Qatar Airways at Le Bourget with an Airbus A380, A350, A320, A319 and a 787 Dreamliner. The major delegation fits into the current aggressive Qatar Airways marketing in Europe, which many European airlines see as a major threath to their business. It is said the recent order for 24 Dassault Rafale aircraft has opened many French doors for Qatar – the door of the Paris Air Show apparently being one of those doors.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Noisy Thunder. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

(Image © Airbus)
(Image © Airbus)

American Orion is the new “Nimrod”, are there any alternatives?

British aviation enthousiasts already mentioned it earlier this week through the social media channels, and now it has been officially confirmed by a UK MoD official. The United States Navy currently flies operational missions with at least one of its Lockheed P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) out of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

Thereby the American plane is now more or less the new “Nimrod”, with the British armed forces lacking sufficient anti-submarine capabilities since the retirement of the last of the 35 Hawker Siddeley / BAe Systems Nimrod MR2s at nearby RAF Kinloss on 31 March 2010. The planned introduction of the Nimrod MR4 was scrapped due to budgetary reasons.

In November the lack of underwater detection capabilities came into an alarming light, when London had to ask three fellow NATO nations to help search for a suspected submarine off the coast of western Scotland – a month after Sweden was searching for its “Red October”. Already then the US Navy dispatched a pair of its P-3Cs, supplemented by their Canadian cousin – a RCAF CP-140 Aurora – and a French Navy Dassault Atlantique 2.

The painful situation of the proud sea-going nation of Britain has no easy ick solution. With the MoD using a lot of its financial resources on the new Typhoon and Lightning II fighter jets. An incredible sum of money goes to the new flagship of the navy, aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for which London also seems to seek American assistance.

The BAe Systems Nimrod MRA4 prototype during the 2007 RIAT at RAF Fairford. The project was later scrapped (Image © Marcel Burger)
The BAe Systems Nimrod MRA4 prototype during the 2007 RIAT at RAF Fairford. The project was later scrapped (Image © Marcel Burger)

A best quick fix for the British lack of MPAs might actually be for the Royal Navy to buy second-hand American P-3Cs from the same type that is now operating out of RAF Lossiemouth. The US Navy is slowly converting to the new Boeing P-8A Poseidon MPA, meaning many P-3 will soon be obsolete. Japan reportedly has offered its new but somewhat troubled and likely more expensive Kawasaki P-1, but insiders think there is no chance that London will go for that option.

The possible alternative is the use of a smaller airplane like the RAF’s R1 Sentinel, a Bombardier Global Express business jet stuffed with battlefield surveillance and intelligence gathering hard- and software. A likely candidate would then be Boeing’s Maritime Surveillance Platform, a light version of the P-8 cramped into a Bombardier Challenger 605 but adaptable to other aircraft.

For now it is the US Navy that provides the United Kingdom with a limited submarine detection and hunting force. For how long that will be is still undetermined.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

Related: ↑ Special Report: Big plans for military Saab turboprops

The Bombardier (Canadair) Challenger 605 will be the platform of a light version of the Boeing P-8 MPA (Image © Boeing)
An affordable quick fix? The Bombardier (Canadair) Challenger 605 transformed by Boeing into a the Maritime Surveillance Platform dubbed by Airheadsfly.com as the P-8 Lite (Image © Boeing)
An USN P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from to the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 over the Mediterranean Sea in November 2014 (Image © Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class John Herman / US Navy)
An USN P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from to the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 over the Mediterranean Sea in November 2014 (Image © Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class John Herman / US Navy)