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RAF reforms 42 Sqn as joint P-8A, E-7A operational conversion unit

The first training sortie for the reformed 42 Squadron was flown on 26 September. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has reformed 42 Squadron as a joint operational conversion unit (OCU) for its Boeing 737-based aircraft, it announced on 1 November.

Most latterly the former OCU for the BAC Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol aircraft before its disbandment in 2010, 42 Sqn was stood up at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland on 21 September. This is the station from where both the Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) and Boeing E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning Mk1 (AEW1) aircraft will be operated.

Also known as 42 (Torpedo Bomber) Sqn on account of its role during the Second World War, the unit's first P-8A training sortie was flown on 26 September.

The RAF has received nine P-8As, with the first of three E-7As to be delivered in 2024. Poseidon operations are being flown by 120 Sqn and 201 Sqn, while Wedgetail operations will be flown by 8 Sqn.

As noted by the RAF, 42 Sqn OCU will train flight crews, mission systems operators, and ground crews for the P-8A and E-7A. Both aircraft types feature two flight crew, with the P-8A accommodating six mission specialists and the E-7A accommodating 10 mission specialists.

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