The US Navy awarded Boeing a $1.6 billion production contract on March 31 for the construction and delivery of an additional 11 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
Of the 11 aircraft ordered, 9 will join the US Navy fleet and two will go to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), a cooperative partner in the P-8A joint program since 2009.
The contract brings the total number of US Navy P-8A aircraft under contract to 128 and the RAAF total to 14.
The P-8A is a long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft used by the US Navy. It is militarized with maritime weapons, an open mission system architecture and commercial-like support for affordability. It’s the principal aircraft with the ability to detect and track submarines. The aircraft is modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons. It has two weapons stations on each wing and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refueling system.
The P-8 has two variants: The P-8I, flown by the Indian Navy, and the P-8A Poseidon, flown by the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. Other Poseidon operators will include New Zealand, South Korea and Norway.
It is worth noting that Germany is also considering purchasing the military derivative of the Boeing 737 as it is looking at options for the replacement for its P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.