UK receives final Poseidon MMA

by Gareth Jennings

ZP809 arrives at RAF Lossiemouth on 11 January. As with ZP808, the aircraft has yet to be given a formal name. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom has received its ninth and final Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft (MMA), with ZP809 arriving at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lossiemouth in Scotland on 11 January.

The milestone brings to an end a two-year delivery run that began with the arrival of ZP801 Pride of Moray in February 2020. Since then, ZP802 City of Elgin, ZP803 Terence Bulloch DSO DFC, ZP804 Spirit of Reykjavik, ZP805 Fulmar, ZP806 Guernsey's Reply, ZP807 William Barker VC, and ZP808 have all been received. The names for ZP808 and ZP809 have not yet been announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

In UK service, the Poseidon is operated by 201 and 120 squadrons, with 54 Squadron serving as the operational conversion unit. Delivery of all nine Poseidon MRA1s is a major milestone in the reconstitution of the UK's airborne maritime patrol capability, which was put on hold in 2010 with the retirement of BAE Systems' Nimrod MR2 and the cancellation of its Nimrod MRA4 replacement.


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RAF continues roll-out of A400M capabilities with first operational aerial refuelling

by Gareth Jennings

The view of the A400M receiver aircraft from the Voyager mission controller console. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) is continuing the process of rolling out the capabilities of the Airbus A400M C1 Atlas, announcing on 11 August the first operational aerial refuelling of the airlifter.

For the milestone, an A400M received fuel from an Airbus Voyager KC3 tanker via the centreline hose reserved for large aircraft receivers. The airlifter was refuelled 900 n miles southwest of Ascension Island, extending its 4,100 n miles range to accommodate the remaining 2,600 n miles to Mount Pleasant Airfield on the Falkland Islands.

“The execution of long-range air-to-air refuelling by front-line crews is a major milestone for Atlas. The ability of this aircraft to operate at significant range from the UK, demonstrates our enhanced and resilient force sustainment capabilities,” said Wing Commander Stuart Patton, Officer Commanding 30 Squadron.


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Update: Taiwan reports underplay ‘hundreds' of PLA aircraft in live-fire drills

by Akhil Kadidal

Taiwan said that the PLA flew 49aircraft into the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on 5 August whereas China has said that it is flying ‘hundreds' of aircraft into the ADIZ. (VCG via Getty Images)

China says it is dispatching hundreds of combat aircraft to the six live-fire zones around Taiwan. However, Taipei's daily air incursion reports show smaller figures. Janes assesses that this could partly be because of strains on the country's radar network.

China launched a four-day live-fire exercise around Taiwan from 4 August, in response to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 2 August.

On the first day of the drills, the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) Eastern Theatre Command said that it had “dispatched hundreds of fighters, bombers, and other multitype [aircraft] to the airspace in the north, southwest, and southeast of Taiwan Island”.

The PLA added that the aircraft are conducting “day and night” joint reconnaissance flights, air assault training, and support flights. All six live-fire zones are within Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).


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Chinese UAVs continue Taiwan incursions, says Taipei

by Oishee Majumdar & Akshara Parakala

Norinco's Loitering Dragon FL5A (pictured above) is one of the UAVs identified by Janes in a propaganda video released by the PLA against the backdrop of its military exercises around Taiwan since 4 August. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said the country continues to face incursions by Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) even after a series of live-fire drills conducted by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) came to an end on 7 August.

The Kinmen Defense Command of the Republic of China Army (RoCA) announced on 10 August that one batch and one sortie of unidentified UAVs had entered over “the restricted waters” of the Beiding Island in Taiwan's Kinmen County on the evening of 9 August.

The RoCA troops stationed in the area fired flares to warn off the UAVs in accordance with standard operating procedures, the command said.

The MND has assured that the RoCA is capable of swiftly responding to such threats.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air-platforms/latest/uk-receives-final-poseidon-mma

The United Kingdom has received its ninth and final Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission ...

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