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UK deploys Poseidon to Iceland on first overseas visit

An RAF Poseidon MRA1 seen at Keflavik Airbase during the type's first overseas visit in UK service. Poseidons operated by the UK, the US and Norway will be used to plug the GIUK Gap against increased Russian maritime activity in the region. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom has deployed a Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) to Iceland for the type's first overseas visit.

The Royal Air Force (RAF) announced the detachment of the Poseidon and an Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft to Keflavik Airbase on 12 October, noting that the MMA had taken part in a training sortie in the GIUK gap that runs between Greenland, Iceland, and the UK.

“During the visit, Air Officer Commanding 1 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Allan Marshall, met with senior personnel from the Icelandic government and the British Ambassador to discuss opportunities to enhance Poseidon MRA1 training and operations in the region. NATO Ambassadors, from Poland and Norway also attended the visit to discuss the shared interests of NATO members in the region,” the RAF said.

As noted by the RAF, as well as strengthening maritime security in the GIUK region, the detachment was a step forward in the Agile Combat Employment (ACE) programme, “which focuses on the development of self-sufficient, multiskilled, capabilities that are both interoperable with allies can be operated from multiple dispersed locations at short-notice”.

With six of its nine Poseidon MRA1 aircraft now received into RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, and the remaining three expected to be delivered by the end of the year, the UK is in the process of rebuilding the airborne maritime patrol capability it temporarily lost with the retirement of the Nimrod MR2 and the cancellation of its Nimrod MRA4 successor in 2010.

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