The Australian Government has approved the acquisition of eight P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.
The acquisition of the eight P-8A aircraft will cost approximately $4 billion, including support facilities.
These state-of-the-art aircraft will dramatically boost Australia’s ability to monitor its maritime approaches and patrol over 2.5 million square kilometres of its marine jurisdiction – an area equating to nearly 4 per cent of the world’s oceans.
The first aircraft will be delivered in 2017, with all eight aircraft fully operational by 2021. The Government has also approved an option for a further four aircraft subject to the outcomes of the Defence White Paper review.
Together with high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles, these aircraft will replace the Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orions that have served Australia for over four decades.
The P-8A is a potent and highly versatile aircraft. As well as patrolling Australia’s maritime approaches it can conduct search and rescue, anti-submarine and maritime strike missions using torpedoes and Harpoon missiles.
These aircraft will work closely with other existing and future ADF assets, and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) aviation fleet, to secure ocean resources, including offshore energy resources off northern Australia, and protect the country’s borders.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Minister for Defence David Johnston today inspected a visiting US Navy P-8A aircraft currently in Australia for joint exercises with the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy.
Press Release, February 21, 2014; Image: Boeing