The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has received its 12th and final P-8A POSEIDON long range maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft at RAAF Base Edinburgh, home to the POSEIDON fleet, the Department of Defence announced on 12 December.

The 12 aircraft have been delivered incrementally since the RAAF accepted its first airframe in September 2016 and the aircraft are “already providing significant operational support to Australia, including a recent mission to the Middle East Region on Operation MANITOU as part of the International Maritime Security Construct,” according to a statement by Minister for Defence, Senator Linda Reynolds.

The P-8A POSEIDON incorporates the latest maritime surveillance and attack capabilities and can be refueled in flight, providing the government with enhanced flexibility to support multiple operations in Australia’s isolated Southern Ocean territories, for example, Senator Reynolds observed.

The government “is investing $470 million [€290 million] to deliver new and upgraded facilities and significant airfield works at RAAF Base Edinburgh to support the introduction of the P-8A aircraft,” added Melissa Price, Minister for Defence Industries.

The P-8A POSEIDON and MQ-4C TRITON unmanned aircraft system (UAS) are replacing the AP-3C ORION aircraft in Australian service. (Photo: Australian Defence Force)

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