The RAAF has taken delivery of the last of its current order for 12 Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime ISR aircraft.
The aircraft was delivered to RAAF Edinburgh on December 12, just three years after the first P-8A arrived in-country in November 2016. The 12 P-8As were ordered in three batches each of four aircraft, and Australia retains options for an additional three P-8As which are yet to be confirmed.
These options will likely need to be confirmed soon, as the US Navy is reportedly looking to reduce its program of record from 132 to 117 aircraft, and production of RAF, RNZAF, South Korean and Norwegian P-8As is well underway. Other potential customers including Canada and Saudi Arabia are yet to place orders, while India has a stated requirement for six additional P-8Is.
The RAAF selected the P-8A under Project AIR 7000 Phase 2. It and the AIR 7000 Phase 1B Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned ISR system will replace the AP-3C Orion in the maritime surveillance role, while the AIR 555 Gulfstream/L3Harris MC-55A Peregrine will replace the AP-3C (EW)’s electronic warfare support mission from 2022.