Boeing announced on 28 January that the US Navy (USN) has awarded it a production contract, valued at $2.4 billion, for the next 19 P-8A POSEIDON maritime patrol aircraft (MPA): 10 for the USN’s fleet, the five aircraft under contract for Norway and the last four for the United Kingdom, which will bring British procurement to a total of nine aircraft.
Britain and Norway are acquiring the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process and will receive the P-8A variant designed and produced for the USN. The United Kingdom will receive its first aircraft in 2019 and Norway will begin receiving aircraft in 2021.
The P-8 is a long-range multi-mission MPA capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. A military derivative of the Boeing 737, the P-8 combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the battlespace. It is militarised with maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture and commercial style support for affordability.
The aircraft has been modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons – two weapons stations on each wing – carrying up to 129 sonobuoys – and is also fitted with an in-flight refuelling system. With more than 180,000 flight hours to date, P-8 variants (P-8A POSEIDON and the P-8I), patrol the world’s oceans, conducting anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; humanitarian; and search and rescue missions.