Defence Minister Stuart Andrew has announced the first fuel tanks supporting the UK’s new fleet of submarine hunting aircraft have rolled off the line in Cambridge…

The major milestone comes after the first cohort of RAF aircrew commenced their training for the programme earlier this month, marking the start of a vital enhancement of the UK’s military capabilities in the maritime environment.

The P-8A Poseidon is designed to operate for long durations over water in maritime patrol roles, in particular anti-submarine, anti-shipping and search and rescue.

The Minister made the announcement for the P-8A programme during a visit to Cambridge firm, Marshall Aerospace and Defence, where the fuel tanks for the aircraft are being produced. The firm manufactures the fuel tanks for sub-hunters globally, including for the United States Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.

Minister for Defence Procurement Stuart Andrew said: “Our new submarine-hunters will be a potent deterrent to our adversaries and a dependable asset for the UK and our allies, and the innovative defence equipment built by Marshall will help us combat a range of intensifying threats.”

The innovative sub-hunting fleet, designed for future growth and adaptability, will enhance the UK’s specialist airborne maritime patrol capability through advanced, state of the art anti-ship missiles, sonobuoys and torpedoes. The aircraft will also contribute to the protection of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and our new aircraft carriers.

A total of nine submarine hunting aircraft will be delivered to RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland in Spring 2020, bringing future opportunities for high-tech employment to the region. The MOD and Boeing have invested £100m in the infrastructure that will house the aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth.

When the fleet is fully operational, an additional 470 personnel will be based at RAF Lossiemouth.