UK’s maritime patrol aircraft tasked to shadow Russian Navy’s vessels in Mediterranean
A Royal Air Force Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft has joined other NATO ships and aircraft to locate and track Russian Navy warships in the Mediterranean Sea.
Deployed to the region on a training exercise, the aircraft was reassigned to support a coalition of NATO warships tasked with the shadowing of Russian vessels.
The Russian Navy’s warships, which included Slava-class cruisers, Udaloy-class destroyers, and their support vessels, were monitored from a discrete distance as part of the NATO collective defence mission.
“We were able to use Poseidon … to support our allies by getting in close and identifying those ships. As one of the only nations within NATO with this platform, our involvement enhances the ability of the Alliance to monitor Russian activity,” the Royal Air Force noted.
“It was also important to show that we’re standing alongside our NATO partners and other nations, contributing to the security of the Alliance.“
The officials emphasized that through the search radar, together with a video camera and other advanced sensors that allow detection of radars and other emissions, they could “quickly produce a picture of exactly what’s happening on the surface of the sea.”
Boeing’s Poseidon P-8A is a multi-role maritime patrol aircraft, equipped with sensors and weapons systems for anti-submarine warfare, as well as surveillance and search and rescue missions.
A contract for Poseidon development was granted in June 2004, and first flight followed on 25 April 2009.