The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Boeing a US$2.47 billion contract for the manufacture of 20 P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, covering 16 aircraft for the US Navy and four for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The Lot III P-8A full-rate production contract, which was announced by the US DoD on January 28, states that the “contract combines purchase for the Navy ($2,052,571,034; 83 per cent) and the government of Australia ($417,011,961; 17 per cent) under a cooperative agreement”. The contract option also provides for efforts related to obsolescence monitoring, change assessment, and integrated baseline/program management reviews.
The acquisition of the first four P-8As for the RAAF was covered by a Lot II full-rate production contract that was awarded in August last year.
The first P-8As for the RAAF are currently in production, with the first aircraft due to roll out later this year and be delivered to Australia in early 2017; all eight are expected in service by 2021.
The Australian government announced approval of the RAAF’s acquisition of eight P-8As, with options on a further four, in February 2014. The extra maritime surveillance aircraft for the RAAF are being considered as part of the forthcoming Defence White Paper expected for release in coming months.