RAF Poseidon Deal Worries
‘New RAF Poseidon spy planes “at the mercy” of Donald Trump over US deal with Boeing’ ran the headline in The Mirror yesterday. The newspaper implied that the deal may be under threat, but the story comes from a statement made by Baroness Judith Jolly, the Liberal Democrats’ defence spokeswoman:
Why are we not buying these planes directly from Boeing and instead using a foreign military sale? This puts us at the mercy of the Americans and soon-to-be President Trump. The only place worse than that is relying on Vladimir Putin for your gas supply. This incompetent government need to order the aircraft directly and stop leaving us at risk.
Trump had earlier criticised Boeing for the high cost of two new Air Force One planes, but there is no reason to suppose that the Poseidon deal is at risk.
After scrapping the Nimrod programme in 2010, the UK requires a replacement Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). The MOD confirmed plans in July 2016 to purchase nine P-8A Poseidon aircraft from the USA. The new aircraft are expected to come into service in 2020 and will be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
The MOD reported that approx. £3 billion will be invested over the next decade in developing and delivering the UK’s MPA capability, including paying for the people, their training, the infrastructure and necessary support at RAF Lossiemouth.
Sources: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/new-raf-poseidon-spy-planes-9547868; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mod-seals-the-deal-on-nine-new-maritime-patrol-aircraft-to-keep-uk-safe
Photo: A P-8A Poseidon assigned to the Bureau of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 flies over the Chesapeake Bay. VX-20 is part of Naval Test Wing Atlantic by Greg L. Davis, US Navy.