Mon Jan 2, 2017 7:54AM
A US Navy Boeing Poseidon P-8 spy plane (file photo)
A US Navy Boeing Poseidon P-8 spy plane (file photo)

The UK government has not yet placed an order for a much publicized spy plane deal with the American aviation and military giant Boeing, a new report states, meaning that the much-needed military aircraft would only be provided upon US President-elect Donald Trump’s agreement.

The British Ministry of Defense claimed in July that it had “confirmed the deal to purchase nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft” from Boeing.

However, The Daily Mirror reported Sunday that the deal with the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama was far from complete and in fact no orders were made before the New Year.

The problem is that the deal is a “foreign military sale,” meaning that it requires Washington’s approval before Boeing could make the delivery.

This leaves the contract “at the mercy” of Trump, Obama’s successor, the report added.

“Why are we not buying these planes directly from Boeing and instead using a foreign military sale?” said Lib Dem defense spokeswoman Baroness Judith Jolly. “This puts us at the mercy of the Americans and soon-to-be President Trump.”

Back in July, the government of then-UK prime minister David Cameron said it had inked new multi-billion pound contracts with Boeing.

As part of the deal, Boeing had to provide the Royal Air Force with nine P-8A Poseidon spy aircraft, complete with a £100 million ($129 million) maintenance facility at the RAF Lossiemouth base in Moray.

UK military sources told the daily earlier that the deal “for the 8th US Production Lot, which will include the UK’s initial aircraft, will be placed early next year.”

Based on Boeing’s best-selling 737 aircraft, the P-8 or Poseidon is capable of launching torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other weapons.

It can also track submarines and alert the UK Navy’s vessels of approaching threats.

The UK has recently made another “foreign military sale” with the US, under which London would receive an undisclosed number of nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US Navy.