On Thursday 13 April, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Surveillance Aircraft A47-002 was noted completing a missed approach at Longreach Airport. It flew South from Townsville (where it had arrived the previous day) and looked to head to Adelaide following its airwork.
The RAAF's second P-8A Poseidon aircraft is pictured departing Darwin in late March after it was delivered to the RAAF via Amberley and then its Edinburgh base earlier in the month.
A47-002 was heard to be using the radio callsign of "Blackcat 22".
The P-8A is a fundamental element of Australia’s future maritime patrol and response strategy. Together with the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the P-8A aircraft will replace the RAAF's Lockheed AP-3C Orions which are due for withdrawal in 2018-19.
The P-8A Poseidon uses advanced sensors and mission systems, including an advanced multi-role radar, high definition cameras, and an acoustic system with four times the processing capacity of the current AP-3C Orions.
The Government has committed to acquiring a total of 15 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. 12 P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft have been approved for acquisition with an additional three aircraft subject to normal Government Defence acquisition approval processes, including the timeframe for delivery.
The first two aircraft - A47-001 and A47-002 - have arrived in Australia with the remaining 10 aircraft to be delivered by March 2020. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the first eight P-8A's is scheduled for the period 2017 - 2020.
Finally, also noted visiting Longreach Airport but on Wednesday 12 April was RAAF Beech B350 Super King Air A32-346 "Hudson 04". It looked to fly from Amberley and complete missed approaches at both Biloela / Thangool and Emerald Airports before continuing further West to Longreach Airport where it landed for a short time. A32-346 then departed to Townsville via a missed approach at Hughenden. While fellow RAAF Super King Air A32-437 "Dingo 05" was again noted completing airwork around the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) and then Yeppoon while on a flight out of and back to Townsville.
Sincere thanks to Darwin plane spotter Sid M for allowing us to share his great photo!
Photo taken by Sid Mitchell ©