The UK has deployed a Royal Air Force (RAF) P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft to support Border Force operations in the English Channel.

The aircraft flew from its base Kinloss Barracks, following the Home Office request to the Ministry of Defence.

Over the coming weeks, RAF P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft will track small vessels crossing the channel and will alert the Border Force that will then initiate appropriate action.

The UK Defence Secretary has also authorised the use of the Shadow R1 aircraft to support the surveillance programme.

Multi-role maritime patrol aircraft P8 Poseidon is equipped with a maritime search radar for search and tracking operations. The Shadow R1 has electro-optical and infra-red sensors to support intelligence gathering.

RAF Lossiemouth station commander Group Captain Chris Layden said: “The Home Office has requested support and the RAF has responded quickly again with the deployment of a Poseidon MRA1 aircraft, flown by a team of personnel from RAF Lossiemouth.

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“The aircraft has significant range and endurance, as well as the ability to support command and control and search and rescue operations, should the Border Force or UK Coastguard require it.”

The aircraft can cover a vast area with a greater field of vision, making it more effective than a ship for surveillance operations.

This week, an Atlas A-400M aircraft, which flew from RAF Brize Norton, carried out surveillance over the channel.