The US DoD has awarded Boeing a US$2.46bn (A$3.58bn) contract for the production of 19 P-8A Poseidon maritime ISR aircraft.
The 19 aircraft includes 10 aircraft for the US Navy, for the for UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF), and five for the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF). The RAF aircraft are the final four of nine Poseidon MRA Mk.1s it has on order, and will replace the maritime ISR capability left vacant by the retirement of the BAE Nimrod MR2 and the cancellation of the Nimrod MRA4 in 2010.
The contract award also includes an “engineering change proposal 4 SilverBlock for the UK government”. While it doesn’t give any additional details, it is thought ‘SilverBlock’ may be a UK-specific communications or electronic warfare capability.
The Norwegian P-8As are the five it ordered in March 2017 to replace its six P-3C Orions. All 19 aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in 2022/23.
The US Navy has a requirement for 122 P-8As, and has taken delivery of about 90 aircraft to date. India has ordered 12 P-8Is with 12 options, and New Zealand has four P-8As on order for delivery in 2022. Combined with the 12 on order and three options for the RAAF, orders for the P-8 total 164 aircraft plus 15 options.