“The change of gear in the relationship with Russia meant filling the gap [in MPA capability] in the 2015 Defence Review was a significant priority,” he says.
Submarine hunting skills had been retained in the RAF by embedding personnel in the US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand armed forces. The decision was taken in 2015 to revive a sovereign British maritime patrol capability.
Submarines are the most potent part of the Russian navy, says Mr Childs. The fleet consists of about 60 to 70 vessels and only a handful could pose a headache for Nato naval forces. The decision to work closely with Norwegian forces is “a logical step when fielding exotic capabilities in small numbers”, he says.
The P-8 conducts anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and shipping interdiction, along with an electronic signals intelligence role. This involves carrying torpedoes, depth charges, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons.