The U.S. Navy placed a $1.6-billion contract with Boeing Defense, Space & Security for 11 new P-8A Poseidon aircraft, the long-range aircraft in use for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Nine of the new jets will be deployed by the Navy and two will be supplied to the Royal Australian Air Force.
Boeing describes the twin-engine P-8 as a derivative of the 737 Next-Generation aircraft, with 86% commonality with the commercial 737NG – meaning the Navy gains supply-chain economies of scale in production and support.
The P-8A is militarized with maritime weapons and an open-mission system architecture, and modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons, with two weapons stations on each wing. It’s armed with torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and other weapons, and it can drop and monitor sonobuoys. It’s also outfitted for in-flight refueling.
With the new additions, the Navy will have ordered 128 P-8A aircraft and the RAAF will have 14.
“The P-8A continues to be an invaluable asset and these additional aircraft will help deliver expanded maritime patrol and reconnaissance capabilities to the fleet,” stated Capt. Eric Gardner, manager of the USN Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance program office.