The US Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Boeing a $2.45 billion contract modification to start construction on a number of Poseidon P-8A maritime patrol aircraft for the US Navy, the UK and Norway.
Under the latest contract modification, Boeing is to deliver 10 P-8As to the US Navy, four for the government of the UK and five for the government of Norway.
While the aircraft built for the UK will be the final four, bringing the total number of aircraft in the country’s fleet to nine, the aircraft built for Norway will be the first, and so far only.
Norway ordered the five aircraft in March 2017. 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.
In an announcement on January 25, the US defense department said Boeing was expected to complete work on the contract in March 2022.
Poseidon 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 armament of the Poseidon consists of five internal and six external stations for AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, AGM-84 Harpoon, Mark 54 torpedo, and a High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon system among others.
Development of the program started in June 2004 when the US Navy selected the Boeing multimission maritime aircraft, 737 MMA, as the best successor to the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft
The P-8A is turning into a foreign military sales success story with a total of five international customers. In addition to the US, the aircraft is in service in Australia, India, and the UK, while Norway and New Zealand are yet to receive their first submarine hunters. South Korea is expected to become the sixth international P-8A customer after it was cleared to buy the aircraft by the US state department in September 2018.