A military contract worth £233.5m to maintain Poseidon submarine hunting aircraft has been announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The Poseidon (P-8A) is the RAF’s maritime patrol aircraft specialising in anti-submarine warfare, identifying and tracking potentially hostile vessels around UK waters.
The five-year contract is expected to create 107 jobs at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, focused on aircraft maintenance and support, with a further 46 posts at sites in Bristol, Yeovil and Gosport.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Our new Poseidon fleet continues to grow from strength to strength and is already defending the UK’s maritime interests at home and abroad.
“This contract with Boeing Defence UK secures our critical submarine-hunting aircraft capabilities whilst also creating a home-grown training enterprise and creating over 150 British jobs.”
Nine Poseidon aircraft, based on the Boeing 737-800, were ordered from Boeing by the UK.
Five aircraft, named the Pride of Moray, City of Elgin, Terence Bulloch, Spirit of Reykjavik and Fulmar, are all now operating out of Lossiemouth, with four expected to be delivered later this year.
The Poseidon fleet is operated from a new £100m facility at RAF Lossiemouth that opened in September 2020, which includes a three-bay hangar, accommodation for squadrons, training, mission support and two flight simulators.
Investment in the base now totals £470m, according to the MoD, including a £75m upgrade to the runway ahead of the site becoming home to the UK’s fleet of Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning surveillance aircraft.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “This contract award and the creation of more than 100 jobs at RAF Lossiemouth is another great example of the benefits UK defence investment brings to Scotland.
“The Moray station’s fleet of Poseidon submarine hunting aircraft are vital to maintaining the security of the UK and our Nato allies.”
Poseidon team leader Malcom French said: “I am extremely proud of the P-8A delivery team and what is yet another example of great delivery by Defence Equipment & Support.
“Placed to a tight timescale, and encompassing exacting requirements, this contract helps enable the full range of capability that Poseidon brings to be realised, sees our modern aircraft fully supported, and our personnel being trained from state-of-the-art facilities.”