Boeing has been contracted by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to supply nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) for the Royal Air Force (RAF) under a foreign military sale programme of the US Government.

The cost of developing and delivering the UK’s MPA capability, including paying for the people, training, infrastructure and necessary support at RAF Lossiemouth will be £3bn.

The RAF will use the new aircraft to protect the country's nuclear deterrent and two new aircraft carriers.

The aircraft will locate and track hostile submarines, and will improve the UK’s maritime search-and-rescue (SAR) capability.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Our new MPA aircraft will provide significant protection of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and our £6bn aircraft carriers.

“They are part of our plan for stronger and better defence, backed by a budget that will rise each year of this decade.

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"That means more ships, more  aircraft, more troops available at readiness, better equipment for special forces, more being spent on cyber, to deal with the increased threats to our country.”

Boeing will also build a new £100m P-8A operational support and training base at RAF Lossiemouth, creating more than 100 new jobs.

"Our new MPA aircraft will provide significant protection of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and our £6bn aircraft carriers."

The P-8A aircraft can carry out high and low-level airborne maritime and overland surveillance for extended periods without refuelling.

It can also conduct wide-area search of open oceans to locate small boats, as well as drop rescue life-rafts and equipment to vessels and people in distress.

Additionally, the UK Government has committed £365m in funding for new aerospace R&D projects in the country.

The partnership between the UK government and Boeing is expected to create 2,000 jobs.

Image: The P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.