The US Department of Defense awarded a $1.6 billion production contract to Boeing for 11 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
Boeing detailed that nine aircraft will be delivered to the US Navy and two will go to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), a cooperative partner in the P-8A joint program since 2009. The new contract brings the P-8A fleet of the US Navy to 128 aircraft, and the RAAF to 14.
Based on the fuselage of the Boeing 737-800, with the wings of the -900, the P-8A Poseidon is powered by two CFM56-7B engines from CFM International, giving it a range of 5,900 kilometers (3,666 miles). It can be equipped, both internally and externally, with an array of armaments dedicated to submarine and anti-ship warfare, such as torpedoes, mines, depth charges, and anti-ship missiles.
“The P-8A continues to be an invaluable asset and these additional aircraft will help deliver expanded maritime patrol and reconnaissance capabilities to the fleet,” said Eric Gardner, program manager for the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Program Office.
The Royal Australian Air Force initially ordered the P-8A to replace the aging AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The Australian Poseidon aircraft should eventually be able to employ the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRSAM) developed by the United States’ DARPA. On July 2, 2020, the Australian Department of Defense confirmed it would acquire an unspecified number of LRASM after a Foreign Military Sales deal to sell 200 of the stealthy anti-ship cruise missile to Australia was approved by the U.S. State Department in February 2020.
Additionally to the US Navy and the RAAF, the P-8A Poseidon is also operated by the British Royal Air Force.