Australian Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston announced the United States Navy has executed an Advanced Acquisition Contract for Australia’s P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Senator Johnston said this key Defence procurement would allow the withdrawal of the ageing AP-3C Orion fleet, and enable Boeing US to place lead time orders in support of Australia’s first four P-8A aircraft.
“Together with high altitude unmanned aerial vehicles, these aircraft will replace the Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orions that have served Australia so well for over four decades,” Senator Johnston said.
“These state-of-the-art aircraft will dramatically boost Australia’s ability to monitor its maritime approaches.”
He said the P-8A could also conduct search and rescue, anti-submarine and maritime strike missions using torpedoes and harpoon missiles.
“These aircraft work closely with other existing and future Defence assets, and the Australian Customs and Border Protection aviation fleet, to secure our vitally important ocean resources, including northern Australia’s offshore energy resources and to protect our borders,” Senator Johnston said.
Australian industry stands to benefit by as much as $1 billion through construction of facilities for these aircraft and work to meet maintenance and other support needs.
Delivery of the first aircraft is set for 2017 with all eight to be delivered by 2018.