P-8A Poseidon for RAAF ordered
The US Navy has ordered 13 Full-Rate Production (FRP) Lot 2 P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Boeing Defense in a nearly $1.5 billion contract, it was announced on 27 August.
Of the aircraft, nine will join the US fleet and four will enter into service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), a P-8A joint programme partner since 2009. The contract includes an option to purchase another 20 aircraft under FRP Lot 3, of which 16 will go the US Navy and four to the RAAF.
The four aircraft for the RAAF will be the first P-8A Poseidon aircraft delivered to Australia. The aircraft will replace the RAAF's ageing P-3C Orion fleet, with the first scheduled to be delivered in the autumn of 2016.
Capt Scott Dillon, maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft program office (PMA-290) program manager, said: 'The RAAF and US Navy have long been partners in maritime patrol. Australia’s parallel transition from P-3C to P-8A will maximise interoperability while both forces continue to receive the benefits of a highly cost effective, highly reliable and persistent aircraft.'
Wg Cdr David Houghton, PMA-290 P-8A joint program office lead, said: 'Through the P-8A cooperative programme 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 US Navy, RAAF and Boeing.'
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