Norway’s plans to replace its ageing fleet of P-3 Orion and DA-20 Jet Falcon maritime patrol aircraft became official on Wednesday with the signing of a contract for the acquisition of the Boeing built P-8A.
The contract for five aircraft was signed by the Norwegian defense equipment agency, on behalf of the ministry of defense, and the US charge d’affaires James DeHart at the US Embassy in Norway.
The project is expected to cost 9,825 billion Norwegian Krone (approx. EUR 1,1 billion) including the acquisition of sensors, anti-submarine weapons and supporting equipment. Once they start arriving in Norway from 2021, the P-8A will replace the nation’s current six P-3 Orion and three DA-20 Jet Falcon aircraft.
All five units are expected to arrive in Norway by 2022.
“The new maritime patrol aircraft will be a formidable tool for surveillance of our vast maritime areas in the north. Norway has an important task in maintaining the situational awareness in national and adjacent waters, both on and below the surface, on behalf of the Alliance. The maritime domain is becoming more important as we speak,” Norwegian defense minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said earlier.
The P-8A is a derivative of a modified Boeing 737-800ERX airliner, featuring a high-bypass turbo fan jet engine with a fully connected, open architecture mission system. The P-8A Poseidon is 39.5 metres long, with a maximum takeoff weight of 85,820kg and a wingspan of 37.6m.