The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing a $1.5 billion production contract for the next 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft, Boeing Co. has announced on 30th March. The contract includes eight aircraft for the U.S. Navy, six aircraft for the Republic of Korea Navy and four aircraft for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The Republic of Korea Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force acquired the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive the same P-8A Poseidon variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2022 and the Republic of Korea Navy is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2023.
The P-8 is a proven long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. A military derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation airplane, the P-8 combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the battle space.
The P-8 is militarized with maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture and commercial-like support for affordability. The aircraft is modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons. It has two weapons stations on each wing and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refuelling system.
With more than 254,000 flight hours to date, the P-8A Poseidon and P-8I variants patrol the globe performing anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; humanitarian; and search and rescue missions.