LATEST UPDATE 4 APRIL 2014 22:45 UTC | Kick off on 26 March 2014 for the very large NATO+ naval exercise Joint Warrior – Spring edition. Place of events: the North Sea and coastal areas of Scotland. More than 10,000 military personnel from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands, New-Zealand, Norway, Turkey, the United States and the United Kingdom participate. They put to sea 35 vessels, 35 helicopters and about 30 aircraft. The actual war games take place from 31 March to 10 April and marks the first deployment ever of the new Boeing P-8A Poseidon (US Navy) in Europe!
Footage of 40 Commando Royal Marines in helicopter assault, Joint Warrior 31 March 2014
RAF Lossiemouth will be the main air base of operations for the land based air assets, with RAF Leuchars as the secondary land base. The air assets confirmed to be involved in Joint Warrior Spring 2014 are these units and/or aircraft:
Marine (French Navy) Breguet Atlantique from SECBAT (tail nr. 18), operating out of RAF Lossiemouth
Royal Canadian Air Force Lockheed CP-140 Aurora, two aircraft (140115, 140113 (404 Maritime Patrol and Training Squadron, CFB Greenwood)), operating out of RAF Lossiemouth
Royal Navy/Fleet Air Arm Westland Wildcat maritime helicopters from 700W Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton, UK
Royal Navy/Fleet Air Arm AgustaWestland Merlin Mk1 shipborne ASW helicopters from 829 Naval Air Squadron, operating from Type 23 frigates
Royal Navy/Fleet Air Arm AgustaWestland Merlin Mk2 maritime patrol & anti-piracy helicopters from 820 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Culdrose, UK
Royal Navy/Fleet Air Arm Westland Sea King Mk4 (Commando Helicopter Force) from 845 Naval Air Squadron, operating from Helicopter Carrier HMS Illustrious
Royal Netherlands Air Force Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) AS532U2 Cougar Mk2 transport helicopters from 300 Squadron (Gilze Rijen AB), two embarked on the LPD L801 Johan de Witt
Royal New Zealand Air Force Lockheed P-3K Orion from 5 Squadron (NZ2403) (Whenuapai Mil), operating out of RAF Lossiemouth
Royal Navy/Fleet Air Arm BAe Hawk T1 advanced jet trainers from 736 Naval Air Squadron (RNAS Culdrose), at least 4 aircraft (incl. no. XX170, XX301, and XX316), operating out of RAF Lossiemouth
Royal Norwegian Air Force Lockheed P-3C Orion (3298 “Viking”) from 333 skvadron (Andøya AB), operating from RAF Lossiemouth
Royal Norwegian Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules (5629 “Nanna”) from 353 skvadron (Gardermoen IAP), flying in supplies to RAF Lossiemouth
Royal Air Force BAe Hawk T2 advanced jet trainers from 4(R) Squadron, RAF Valley
Royal Air Force BAe Hawk T1 advanced jet trainers from 100 Squadron, RAF Leeming
Royal Air Force Panavia Tornado GR4 interdicter strike aircraft from IX Squadron, RAF Marham
Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role fighters from XI Squadron, RAF Coningsby
Royal Air Force Boeing E-3D Sentry AWACS from 8 Squadron, RAF Waddington
Royal Air Force Airbus Voyager tanker (A330 MRTT) from 10 Squadron, RAF Brize Norton
Royal Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules from 47 Squadron, RAF Brize Norton
Royal Air Force BAe 125 CC3 (ZD703) liaison jet from RAF Northolt, flying in RAF Lossiemouth 29 March 2014
Royal Air Force Agusta Westland Merlin HC3 medium-lift helicopters from either 28(AC) Squadron and/or 78 Squadron, RAF Benson
Royal Air Force Boeing Chinook medium-lift helicopters from either 7 and/or 18 and/or 27 Squadron, RAF Odiham
Army Air Corps Boeing/Westland WAH-64 Apache attack helicopters
Army Air Corps Boeing Chinook transport helicopters, incl. from 27 Squadron, RAF Odiham
Army Air Corps Aérospatiale Puma transport helicopters
Army Air Corps Lynx Mk9A
US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol & surveillance aircraft, from VP-5 (436) (NAS Jacksonville), operating out of RAF Lossiemouth
US Navy Lockheed P-3C Orion MPA, two aircraft from VP-10 (161413, 885) (NAS Jacksonville), operating out of RAF Lossiemouth
US Navy Lockheed NP-3 Orion MPA test aircraft, from VX-20 (158204) (NAS Patuxent River), operating out of RAF Lossiemouth
US Navy Sikorsky SH-60 and MH-60 Seahawk shipborne maritime helicopters on board the cruisers USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) guided-missile destroyers USS James E. Williams (DDG 95), USS Cole (DDG 67), USS Ross (DDG 71), guided-missile frigate USS Samuel B Roberts (FFG 58), and fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawa (T-AO 196)
US Navy Lockheed C-130T-30 Hercules (no. 4598) from VR-55 (NAS Point Mugu) flying in supplies to RAF Lossiemouth
Sources: Koninklijke Marine / Royal Navy / US Navy and several aviation enthousiasts with the latest on-site confirmations.
The Boeing/Bombardier Challenger 604 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft Demonstrator completed its first flight on 28 February 2014 from Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada, the Boeing company revealed on 5 March.
Also dubbed ‘Poseidon Lite’ the adapted bizjet is meant for naval forces who don’t have the cash to afford themselves a full-scale P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, but like to have some similar capabilities capabilities in a jet powered aircraft for search and rescue, anti-piracy, coastal patrol and border security.
Field Aviation conducted the first four-hour flight. Field Aviation is the Boeing Phantom Works partner that modified the Challenger 604s structure and systems.
Additional airworthiness flights are scheduled for the next two months. Once they are complete, the aircraft will fly to a Boeing facility in Seattle where the MSA mission systems will be installed and tested. Those P-8A based technologies include an Active Electronically Scanned Array multi-mode radar, an Electro/Optical/Infrared sensor, Electronic Support Measures, a Communications Intelligence sensor and Automated Identification System.
The Australian Government has approved the acquisition of eight Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft from the United States. The aircraft will replace the Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orions that served the continent nation for over four decades, the government announced on 21 February 2014.
“These state-of-the-art aircraft will dramatically boost Australia’s ability to monitor its maritime approaches and patrol over 2.5 million square kilometres of our marine jurisdiction – an area equating to nearly 4 per cent of the world’s oceans”, writes a government spokesperson in a press release.
The first aircraft will be delivered in 2017, with all eight aircraft fully operational by 2021. The Government has also approved an option for a further four aircraft subject to the outcomes of the Defence White Paper review.
Australia will augment the Poseidons with high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles. The P-8A will in Royal Australian Air Force service conduct search and rescue, anti-submarine and maritime strike missions using torpedoes and Harpoon missiles. The acquisition of the eight P-8A aircraft will cost approximately US$4 billion, including support facilities.
Modernising the RAAF
Australia is modernising its air assets over the last decade creating one of the most modern air forces worldwide. The orders/deliveries to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) since the beginning of the century include 5 Airbus KC-30A MRTT tanker/transport aircraft, 6 E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C), 14 Lockheed F-35A Lightning IIs with a requirement for 58 of these 5th generation multi-role fighters, 24 Boeing F/A-18EF Super Hornet multi-role fighters, 12 Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, 10 Alenia Aermacchi/L-3 C-27J Spartan to complement the six C-130J Hercules tactical airlifters, 6 Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifters, 3 CL-604 Challenger VIP-jets and 2 Boeing 737 Business Jets (BBJ).
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Sea Hawk maritime helicopters on order with three Bell 429 training/utility helicopters flying within the RAN since 2002. The RAN and the Royal Australian Army (RAA) also are to receive a combined total of 46 NH Industries MRH90 Taipan helicopters, with 6 for the Navy. The RAA is further getting seven new Boeing CH-47F Chinook medium-lift helicopters with the delivery of 22 Eurocopter Tiger ARH attack helicopters completed in 2011.
The US Navy and Indian Navy new submarine hunter and maritime patrol aircraft, the Boeing P-8, is a total ineffective plane for its purpose. This rather astonishing quote comes from the Pentagon’s weapons test chief Michael Gilmore, reports Bloomberg’s Business Week.
According to the leaked out report the plane’s radar, its sensor integration and data transfer are all showing huge flaws. Despite positive remarks by the USN 7th Fleet commander about the the P-8 being better than the old Lockheed P-3 Orion, the Pentagon top official seems a lot more skeptic.