The U.S. Navy awarded a $2.4-billion contract to Boeing Defense, Space & Security for 19 P-8A Poseidon aircraft, including 10 aircraft to expand the current stock in service by the USN’s fleet. The new order also includes five aircraft under contract for Norway and four aircraft under contract to the United Kingdom. This will bring the total U.K. P-8A Poseidon fleet to nine aircraft.
The P-8 is a military version of Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ 737 Next-Generation twin-engine jet, used for long-range maritime patrols for open sea and littoral operations. According to Boeing, the P-8 combines performance with reliability, with an advanced mission system for interoperability in combat.
P-8 jets are "militarized" with maritime weapons, and include a bomb bays and pylons for weapons – two weapons stations on each wing. Each jet can carry 129 sonobuoys and is fitted with an in-flight refueling system. P-8 variants (P-8A Poseidon and P-8I) have over 180,000 flight hours performing anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. They are used in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, as well as humanitarian and search-and-rescue missions.
The United Kingdom and Norway are acquiring the Boeing aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process. Both will receive the P-8A Poseidon, a variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy.
The U.K. will receive its first aircraft in 2019 and Norway its first aircraft in 2021.