Second P-8A Poseidon lands at Kinloss Barracks in Scotland 130320 CREDIT MOD

Migrant Crossings: RAF Deploys Aircraft For Second Time In Three Days

A P-8A Poseidon - one of the RAF's newest aircraft - took off from Kinloss Barracks in Scotland to head to the English Channel.

Second P-8A Poseidon lands at Kinloss Barracks in Scotland 130320 CREDIT MOD

The Royal Air Force has deployed an aircraft for the second time in three days to support Border Force operations in the English Channel.

A P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft took off from Kinloss Barracks in Scotland on Wednesday morning, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said. 

It is part of an MOD assistance package to the Home Office as they look to tackle small boats crossing the Channel.

Recent fine weather and calm seas has seen an increase in the number of migrants taking to the water in an attempt to reach the UK.

More than 4,000 migrants have reached the UK in 2020 by crossing the Channel in small boats.

The P-8A Poseidon is a multi-role aircraft, equipped with maritime search radar and "highly-sophisticated search and tracking capability", according to the MOD.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has also authorised the use of the Shadow R1 aircraft which is designed for intelligence gathering.

Both aircraft will provide "further essential support to the UK Border Force over the coming weeks subject to weather conditions and the Border Force’s requirements", the MOD added.

On Monday, an RAF A400M Atlas was deployed to monitor developments in the busy waters between the UK and France.

RAF A400M Atlas flies over Dover while supporting Border Force following rise in migrants attempting to cross English Channel 100820 CREDIT MOD
An RAF A400M Atlas supported Border Force operations in the Channel on Monday (Picture: MOD).

It was the first military aircraft to fly in support of Border Force, although the Royal Navy has previously offered assistance.

The aircraft was deployed for surveillance and intelligence, feeding information directly to the UK Coastguard and Border Force, to allow for the quicker interception of boats, the MOD said.

The aircraft is usually used for transporting personnel and hardware.

Andy Netherwood, a defence commentator and former RAF pilot, questioned at the time whether it was "sensible use" of the aircraft. 

Last week, the MOD received a formal request from the Home Office to support UK Border Force in the Dover Strait.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently declined to rule out using the Royal Navy to patrol migrants crossing the busy waterway.

Cover image: Library picture of a P-8A Poseidon at Kinloss Barracks (Picture: MOD).