AN unusual aircraft was seen in the skies above the Dee Estuary and Wirral this week.

People reported seeing the 40 metre long military aircraft above the Dee Estuary on Monday.

It was an anti-submarine warfare aircraft flying out of an RAF base in Scotland that was carrying out circuits over the River Mersey and the River Dee this afternoon, leading residents to question what the plan was doing here.

The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is the RAF’s maritime patrol aircraft specialising in anti-submarine warfare, identifying and tracking potentially-hostile vessels around UK waters.

Connah's Quay resident Lynn Murphy said she saw a plane with what she described as a strange protuberance and wondered what it was.

With a wingspan of 37.7 metres, the submarine hunter has a top speed of 564mph.

The Poseidon fleet is operated from a new £100 million facility at RAF Lossiemouth that opened in September 2020, which includes a three-bay hangar, accommodation for squadrons, training, mission support and two flight simulators.

An RAF spokesperson said the RAF P-8 Poseidon from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland was completing routine training consisting of circuits and approaches at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport.

"The RAF routinely use a variety of civilian airports all over the UK for training as they provide complex airspace and differing approach challenges for our pilots," they said.