Australia’s newest maritime surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, has arrived at its new home, RAAF Base Edinburgh on 12 December, 2019, completing the fleet for No. 11 Squadron.
“This is the twelfth Poseidon to join the fleet, since the first arrived in Canberra on 16 November 2016. The aircraft can be refuelled while flying by tanker aircraft such as Australia’s KC-30A, making it possible to patrol Australia’s isolated Southern Ocean territories. The P-8A is 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.”
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC
The P-8A Poseidon and the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), are replacing the AP-3C Orion aircraft.
The RAAF has committed to acquiring 15 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Up to now, 12 P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft have been approved for acquisition, and three are subject to normal Government Defence acquisition approval processes.
About P-8A Poseidon MPA
The P-8A is a long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. A military derivative of the Boeing Commercial Next-Generation 737 airplane, the P-8A combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the battle space.
The P-8A is militarized with maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture, and commercial-like support for affordability. The aircraft has been modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons – two weapons stations on each wing – and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refueling system. With more than 180,000 flight hours to date, P-8 variants, the P-8A Poseidon and the P-8I, patrol the globe performing anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; humanitarian; and search and rescue missions.
The United Kingdom is one of six international customers for the P-8A Poseidon. The first British Poseidon MRA Mk1 was delivered earlier this year. As a direct commercial sale, India has received eight of the P-8I variant to date with four more in production. The U.S. Navy is on contract to receive 111 with the potential for additional quantities based on the fleet’s needs. As a cooperative partner with the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Program Office, Australia began receiving their P-8A aircraft in 2016 with eight delivered and four more in production; Norway will begin receiving their five P-8As in 2022; both New Zealand and South Korea have signed agreements with the U.S. Navy to purchase four and six aircraft respectively.