By Squadron Leader Mark Faulds
VP-30 RAF Seedcorn
The Royal Air Force (RAF) has announced that their new P-8A Poseidon squadrons will be 120 Squadron and 201 Squadron. The announcement was made at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland where the RAFs nine P-8As will be based. The RAF receives it's first P-8A aircraft in 2019.
The 120 Squadron RAF was a squadron of the Royal Air Force which was established as a Royal Flying Corps unit during World War I and disbanded a year after the end of the war. It was re-established as a RAF Coastal Command squadron during World War II.
Although disbanded again a month after Victory in Europe Day, it operated almost continuously, with maritime patrol aircraft - most recently with the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod, based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland until the type's withdrawal in March 2010.
The squadron was disbanded again the following year. 120 Squadron will stand up again in April 2018 as the first squadron equipped with the P-8A anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Wing Cmdr. James Hanson will command the newly restablished 120 Squadron.
Based at RAF Kinloss, 201 Squadron RAF operated the Nimrod MR2 until March 2010. It is the only squadron affiliated with Guernsey, in the Channel Islands. This affiliation started in 1935 and is commemorated in the museum at Castle Cornet. Its history goes even further back than the RAF itself, being formed originally as No. 1 Squadron Royal Naval Air Station on Oct. 17, 1914. In 2021, 201 Squadron will stand up again as the second squadron equipped with the P-8A aircraft.
Four members of the RAF Seedcorn Detachment with Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville attended the announcement celebration - Squadron Leaders Mark Faulds and Ian Tuff and Master Aircrew Flash Utting and Mick O'Flaherty. A P-8A from VP-16 provided the backdrop for the ceremony.
"This is indeed a momentous day for the RAF, RAF Lossiemouth and the UK and her allies," said Air Commodore Dean Andrew, force commander, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance. "These crews will provide essential capability contributing to the protection of the UK."
Following the announcement, the Seedcorn personnel and Hanson flew to the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England with the VP-16 crew for the three-day air show. The crew displayed the aircraft to hundreds of guests during the event. During the air show, RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier presented Utting and O'Flaherty with their 1,000 hour P-8A badges.