P-8A Poseidon (photo : Militaryphotos)
A US$296 million contract for the procurement of long-lead items for a dozen Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft including the first four aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force has been signed.
“We are extremely excited about this contract award because it not only will continue to deliver P-8s to the US Navy but it also will deliver the initial set of P-8s to the Australian government,” Captain Scott Dillon, program manager for the Maritime Patrol & Reconnaissance Aircraft program office, stated of the contract with Boeing.
“The future of the maritime patrol and reconnaissance community is continuing to make history – with the 15 P-8As already delivered to the US Navy fleet and now with our Australian cooperative program partners.”
Captain Dillon added that the partnership allows Australians to be embedded within the Poseidon program office, and should enable Australia to support its own aircraft as the RAAF’s AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft retires.
The federal government approved the acquisition of eight P-8As with options on a further four to partially replace the RAAF’s AP-3Cs back in February. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2017, with all eight aircraft fully operational by 2021.
Unmanned Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Tritons are also expected to be acquired.