|P-8A Poseidon - too short a range : 'We need at least three more' says RAF bigwigs...|
The first of the new US-sourced P-8A Poseidon aircraft are to arrive at the Moray station in 2020, but not everyone is happy. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph ( July 13 2017) Air Marshall Sir John Harris (retd), Air V-M Andrew Roberts (retd), Air V-M David Emmerson (retd) and Air Commodore Andrew Neal claim that nine of the new P-8A Poseidon aircraft will not offer the protection needed, and that at least three more are urgently needed if the UK's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth 'is not to go straight to the bottom if the sea as soon as hostilities break out - as Russia' s President Putin predicts.'
The retired aviators point out that the scrapped Nimrod MRA4s ( 10 hours on task at 1,000 nautical miles from base) could have provided the cover for the UK and the aircraft carrier.
However the writers claim the new P-8A can only provide LESS than 7 hours on task, and that at least three more P-8A need to be immediately ordered, or as a stopgap air-to- air refuelling booms need to be fitted to the existing A330 Voyager tankers, which might impact on their dual use as 'MAYFORCE 1' a prestige VIP people carrier!
The UK's last dedicated maritime patrol planes flew out of RAF Kinloss in 2010.
The UK government said the key role of the P-8A Poseidon would be to protect submarines and two new aircraft carriers.
Its £3bn investment in maritime patrol aircraft capability over 10 years will include strengthening the runway at Lossiemouth and improving other infrastructure.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: "Our nine new Poseidon aircraft are part of our plan to monitor and deal with increased threats to our country.
"They can operate at long range without refuelling and have the endurance to carry out high and low-level airborne maritime and overland surveillance for extended periods, helping keep us safe. [NOTE: This view is not held by many former RAF chiefs: Ed]
"The P-8A aircraft will allow us to work more closely with our allies, improve our surveillance coverage and will provide value for taxpayers' money."
Source BBC Scotland, Daily Telegraph
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