Boeing has secured a $2.4bn contract from the US Navy for the production and delivery of the next 19 P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Under the contract, Boeing will provide an additional ten aircraft to the US Navy’s inventory, while five jets are under contract for Norway. The UK, which already ordered five of the jets in 2017, will receive the remaining four P-8A’s for $507m, bringing the country’s total to nine.
The UK and Norway are acquiring the Boeing aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive a variant of the US Navy’s P-8A Poseidon. In July 2017, the US, Norway and the UK signed a trilateral statement of intent to acquire the aircraft in order to secure the North Atlantic region.
A statement released by the US Department of Defense said: “Norway, the UK, and the US signed a statement of intent to lay out guiding principles for a trilateral partnership with P-8A aircraft to address the changing security environment in the North Atlantic.
“As the US, the UK, and Norway continue to work to advance trilateral maritime security cooperation, this agreement establishes a framework for further cooperation in areas such as readiness, enhancing defense capability, and interoperability.”
The UK will receive their first aircraft this year, while Norway will receive its P-8As in 2021.
The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range multi-mission aircraft used primarily for maritime patrol and littoral operations. Designed on the Boeing 737 model, the P-8A combines is armed with maritime weapons, including a bomb bay and pylons for weapons, and two weapons stations on each wing.
It also has capacity to carry up to 129 sonobuoys for detecting enemy submarines and is also fitted with an in-flight refuelling system.
Speaking of the P-8A’s communications capabilities, a Boeing spokesperson told Naval Technology: “The aircraft incorporates the most current common voice and tactical data communications links such as Link-16 and Common Data Link (CDL) to achieve operational connectivity among coalition forces.
“Additionally it retains the legacy Link 11 tactical data link specifically for use with allied and friendly forces that are still in the process on transitioning to Link 16 and CDL.”
The P-8A is designed to perform anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. It has also been used to carry humanitarian and search-and-rescue missions.