The Australian defense ministry has announced an order for an additional two P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force, bringing the total fleet size to 14.
The government has also approved sustainment funding for the current approved fleet of three MQ-4C Triton aircraft.
“Together, the Poseidon and the Triton will provide Australia with one of the most advanced maritime patrol and response capabilities in the world,” Australian defense minister Linda Reynolds commented.
The order for another two Poseidons comes almost exactly a year after the final of the original 12 airframes was delivered by Boeing at RAAF Base Edinburgh.
The additional aircraft are being purchased through an existing cooperative program with the United States Navy. Minister Reynolds said being part of the program allowed Australia to share in the benefits of their technical expertise and divide project costs.
P-8A is a derivative of a modified Boeing 737-800ERX commercial liner. The Poseidon can have internal and external stations for AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, AGM-84 Harpoon, and the Mark 54 torpedo with a High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC) system.
Australia plans to integrate the plane with the Long Range Anti-ship Missile (LRASM), allowing it to strike adversary surface vessels at significantly increased ranges.