The U.S. Navy awarded a nearly $1.5 billion contract Aug. 27 to Boeing Defense, Space & Security for the procurement of 13 Full-Rate Production (FRP) Lot 2 P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Nine planes will join the U.S. fleet and four will join the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), who has been a cooperative partner in the P-8A joint program office since 2009.
The contract also provides an option to procure 20 additional FRP Lot 3 planes, 16 of which will go to the U.S. Navy and four to the RAAF.
“The Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy have long been partners in maritime patrol, “ said Capt. Scott Dillon, Maritime Patrol & Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290) program manager. “Australia’s parallel transition from P-3C to P-8A will maximize interoperability while both forces continue to receive the benefits of a highly cost effective, highly reliable and persistent aircraft. ”
The eight RAAF planes included in the contract will be the first P-8A aircraft delivered to Australia, with initial delivery set for autumn 2016.
“Through the P-8A cooperative program partnership, Australia is acquiring an affordable, state-of-the-art capability that will support Australia’s maritime security well into the future, leveraging the combined expertise and experience of the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and Boeing,” said Wing Commander David Houghton, PMA-290 P-8A Joint Program Office lead.
Boeing has delivered 28 planes to the Navy, the latest of which arrived to Jacksonville, Florida Aug. 18.
The P-8A is replacing the P-3C Orion as the Navy’s long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.