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British MRA1 P-8A maritime patrol aircraft has released Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo for the first time.

| 2021

According to information published by the British Air Force on August 6, 2021, a Poseidon MRA1 (P-8A) Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the British Air Force 120 Squadron has conducted a naval exercise and dropped a recoverable exercise variant of the Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo, simulating an attack on a submarine.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 A British Royal Air Force (RAF) Poseidon MRA-1 P-8A maritime patrol aircraft has released a torpedo for the first time. (Picture source British air Force)

The Boeing P-8A Poseidon is an American maritime patrol aircraft developed and produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, based on a modified civilian aircraft 737-800ERX.

On 25 March 2016, the U.S. State Department approved a proposed Foreign Military Sale to the UK for up to nine P-8s and associated support. The British Royal Air Force (RAF) plans to operate the P-8A with U.S. weapons initially and may transition to British weapons later. On 11 July 2016, Boeing announced the signing of a $3.87 billion (£3 billion) contract for nine P-8s and support infrastructure. The RAF has the service name Poseidon MRA1. As of February 2021, five of the nine aircraft have been delivered.

Five Poseidon MRA1s are based at RAF Lossiemouth with a further four set to be delivered by the end of this year.

The Poseidon is fitted with advanced, state-of-the-art, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare sensors which will provide global protection to the UK, NATO and our Allies’ submarines and warships in an increasingly dangerous world. It features an APY-10 radar with modes for high-resolution mapping, an acoustic sensor system, including passive and multi-static sonobuoys, electro-optical/IR turret, and electronic support measures (ESM).

The Mark 54 is a standard 12.75-inch (324 mm) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) lightweight torpedo. At just under 3m long and 32cm in diameter, the Mk 54 torpedo is small and light enough that five can be carried in the Poseidon’s internal weapons bay. The high-explosive warheads on the live torpedoes pack a devastating punch sufficient to destroy enemy submarines that the Poseidon crew can locate and track using state-of-the-art equipment.

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