US military aircraft designers asked by RAF where do we make a cuppa?
Everyone loves to brew up a cuppa, don’t we? Well yes if you’re British, much less so if you’re an American with their love of coffee. This has presented the Royal Air Force with something of a problem in the design of one of their latest, most sophisticated weapons of war, the Boeing P-8 Poseidon anti submarine surveillance aircraft…insofar as there is nothing and nowhere for the crew to make a cup of tea, and tea is essential on missions that can last up to 15 hours in duration!
The long range patrol aircraft are being bought by the Ministry of Defence to replace the old Nimrod aircraft that were phased out of service in 2010 and they will, when they enter service in a few years time, be able to seek out and, where necessary, destroy enemy submarines posing a threat to the security of the United Kingdom. Based on the airframe of the standard Boeing 737 jet airliner, most of us have flown on to get to our holiday destinations, the P-8 Poseidon’s lack of tea making facilities was highlighted during a joint US/UK pilots’ course undertaken at the US Navy Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.
Flight Lieutenant Mark Hume RAF commented on the lack of anywhere to boil water to Boeing as well as no provision for onboard rations or as Ft Lieutenant Hume told the RAF’s official newspaper, “There are no on-board rations, so I do miss a good old fashioned cup of tea and a doughnut.”
Boeing has, however, listened and their engineers are trying to squeeze in one more vital piece of equipment into an aircraft packed to the gunnels with state of the art deadly equipment. In military speak what was missing was ‘The Vessel Boiling Electric’, to you and me, a hot water boiler. Such pieces of kit have been included in almost every major British fighting vehicle in the Army and some Air Force aircraft since the Second World War.
Nine P-8 Poseidon’s are on order for the Royal Air Force at a cost of some £3billion and will enter service from 2020.