July 16 (UPI) -- The first of Britain's nine P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft took off in an inaugural flight by Boeing test pilots from Renton, Wash.
Key testing was conducted during during the 90-minute flight, which began at 10 a.m. PDT Friday, Boeing said in a news release Monday.
British Ministry of Defense and Royal Air Force personnel, along with Boeing P-8 program leaders, were on hand to witness the takeoff and landing of the aircraft, designated as ZP801.
"This is a great milestone in the UK P-8A Poseidon's journey to the UK, as we are one step closer to its arrival in Scotland," said Air Cmdr. Richard Barrow, the senior responsible owner for the UK's P-8A program. "The platform will enhance the UK's maritime patrol capability with advanced, state-of-the-art technology."
The plane next moves to Boeing's facility in Tukwila, Wash., a P-8 installation and checkout facility , where mission systems are installed and further testing happens before final delivery to Britain.
Before delivery overseas, aircraft will first fly to U.S. Naval Air Station Jacksonville for additional preparation and training by UK personnel in October. It is due to arrive at the Lossiemouth base in Moray, Scotland, in early spring of 2020.
"It has been fantastic to meet with the Boeing team who build the Poseidon aircraft and to see our first Poseidon aircraft, ZP801, take to the skies on its inaugural flight. We look forward to the aircraft being delivered to Royal Air Force ownership in October," Capt. Shaun Gee, the program director, said in a Royal Air Force news release.
Poseidon ZP801 will also carry the name Pride of Moray, which celebrates the Maritime Patrol Aircraft heritage of Moray.
Britain is among six international customers for the P-8A Poseidon. The others are Australia, India, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea.
The U.S. Navy is on contract to receive 111 with the potential for additional quantities based on the fleet's needs.
The plane, which is adapted from Boeing's 737-800, first flew in 2009. It is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The jet can travel at 564 mph per hour with a range of 1,200 nautical miles, according to the U.S. Navy. It has a maximum gross takeoff of 189,200 pounds, including a crew of nine.