US & UK Strengthen Maritime Aviation with Op Seed-Corn (Learn More)

Minister for Defense Procurement Harriett Baldwin signed a P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) declaration with her United States counterpart, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work to further strengthen the uniquely close defense relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States today.

In 2019 the U.K. will receive delivery of its first Poseidon P-8A aircraft and both nations have committed to deepen their defense cooperation when operating in the North Atlantic region.

Through seeking opportunities to share logistics and support bases and optimize the use of P-8A aircraft, particularly in Europe, the declaration should ensure increased value for money and operational effectiveness.

(Learn More. With the purchase of nine P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft now confirmed by the UK government, British personnel stationed overseas as part of ‘Project Seedcorn’ are busy preparing themselves for the next stage of the initiative. Courtesy of Textron Systems, Shephard Media and YouTube)

“The United States is our pre-eminent ally in global defense and collective security,” said Minister for Defense Procurement Harriett Baldwin.

Harriett Baldwin
Harriett Baldwin, UK Minister for Defense Procurement

“This declaration is further evidence of how our two countries continue to cooperate and build mutual security, particularly in the North Atlantic region. Backed by a rising defense budget and a £178 billion Equipment Plan, the P-8A program will provide us with enhanced surveillance capabilities.”

As leading members of NATO, the U.K. and U.S. are committed to the collective defense of each other and their allies.

We have also pledged to deepen defense cooperation, bilaterally and within the alliance, to further improve the ability to operate together in exercises and operations.

The declaration provides a new opportunity to maximize value for money for the taxpayer and continue to strengthen U.K.-U.S. interoperability and to pursue efficiencies in operations and support, including at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, where the P-8A will bring some 400+ jobs.

Harriett Baldwin, UK Minister for Defense Procurement pictured here with Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work
Harriett Baldwin, UK Minister for Defense Procurement pictured here with Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work

The Department of Defense and U.K. Ministry of Defense plan to cooperate closely on operation of their P-8A aircraft in the North Atlantic to ensure a coherent approach to MPA activity.

Delivering on the commitment of the 2015 Strategic Defense and Security Review, the U.K. is purchasing nine Boeing P-8A Poseidon MPAs to be based in RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland.

The aircraft will add to the U.K.’s surveillance capabilities, including conducting anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search and rescue and intelligence gathering.

“Today’s signing of the Declaration on P-8A Poseidon Bilateral Cooperation exemplifies the importance and strength of the U.S.-U.K. partnership,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work.

“This cooperation agreement ensures and deepens our interoperability and maritime patrol capabilities.  Together, the U.S. and U.K. will continue to deter regional threats and maintain a robust military posture.”

(Learn More. Boeing P-8A Poseidon Royal Air Force Project ‘Seedcorn’ IHS Jane’s speaks to RAF Master Aircrew (MACR) Warren Salmon attached to U.S.Navy Test Squadron VX-1 flying the U.S.Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon as part of Project ‘Seedcorn’. Courtesy of IHS Jane’s and YouTube)

With the first P-8A aircraft due to arrive in the U.K. in 2019, the RAF has ensured that the U.K. has maintained the skills needed to operate these MPAs through the ‘seed-corn’ program, which has embedded former RAF MPA operators within the MPA squadrons of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S.

Air Commodore Ian Gale, senior responsible owner for the Poseidon P-8A program, said, “This agreement will enhance the U.K.’s maritime patrol capability and further strengthen U.K.-U.S. defense relations.”

“The arrival of the Poseidon P-8A in 2019 will provide the U.K. with significantly increased capabilities and bring hi-tech employment to Scotland and the wider U.K.”

DOD banner

This agreement follows Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon’s recent visit to Norway, where he also committed to cooperate on Maritime Patrol Aircraft operations, ensuring that the U.K. will continue to play a key role in delivering collective maritime security across the globe.