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RAF Lossiemouth Poseidon flew hundreds of miles to and from Boris Johnson photoshoot

The RAF Lossiemouth Poseidon with Boris Johnson and RAF crews in front.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to Royal Air Force Station Waddington in Lincolnshire where he met military personnel. Photo: Carl Recine/PA Wire

A RAF Lossiemouth submarine-hunter Poseidon aircraft travelled hundreds of miles from a base in Scotland ahead of a photoshoot with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, before flying straight back.

Photos of Boris Johnson with two RAF aircraft made newspaper front pages on Friday after his visit to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on Thursday.

An RAF P-8A Poseidon, which Boris Johnson was pictured standing in front of, was flown a distance of more than 330 miles from its base at RAF Lossiemouth.

Why was RAF Lossiemouth Poseidon flown for visit?

The plane, a maritime patrol aircraft designed for anti-submarine warfare, departed from its base shortly before 9am on Wednesday.

The flight path of the Royal Air Force P-8A Poseidon, flying more than 330 miles ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit.

It then flew back to RAF Lossiemouth on Thursday, leaving at approximately 6.20pm, after the Prime Minister completed his visit to the base.

Boris Johnson in Typhoon cockpit.
Boris Johnson inside a Typhoon cockpit during the visit. Photo: Carl Recine/PA Wire

Having been manufactured in Seattle, the aircraft arrived in the UK in November 2021, and has flown just six times since, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.com, including the trip to Waddington where it was pictured with the Prime Minister, and its return journey.

It had never previously visited the Waddington base.

Mr Johnson was also pictured with his thumbs up sitting in an RAF fast jet, which was flown from its home base of RAF Coningsby, which is 15 miles away from RAF Waddington.

Screen grab taken from Flightradar24.com of the flight path of a Royal Air Force P-8A Poseidon, flying more than 330 miles ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit. Photo: PA

Speaking to reporters at the base, the Prime Minister said he was visiting to “talk to some of our crew, the officers who are involved in very, very important intelligence-gathering and surveillance”.

He added: “Some of the planes here today are going to be used very shortly over the border in Belarus, in Poland, and elsewhere over Ukraine, to see what’s going on and to allow us to have even finer detail evaluation of the military dispositions there.”

‘Training conducted on flights’

Both the Typhoon Mr Johnson was pictured sitting in, and the P-8A Poseidon were flown back to their respective bases after his visit.

The Ministry of Defence announced on Wednesday that four additional Typhoon jets had been deployed to Cyprus to patrol the skies over eastern Europe.

HMS Diamond, a Type 45 destroyer, is also preparing to deploy to the eastern Mediterranean alongside other Nato vessels.

The UK has also doubled the number of personnel deployed in Estonia as part of Nato’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission.

An MoD spokesperson said: “All the aircraft positioned at RAF Waddington conducted training flights before and after the visit.

“This enabled a small number of aircraft to be used to demonstrate how the RAF defends the UK and our Nato allies across Europe.

“At no point did this impact on any ongoing operations.”

The PA news agency asked the MoD to explain the nature of the training but did not receive a response.

Downing Street has been approached for comment.

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