The US Department of Defense (DoD) has issued a contract modification that will support the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities of the Naval Air Systems Command’s P-8A Poseidon multi-purpose maritime aircraft.

Boeing, the original equipment manufacturer of the Poseidon, was awarded $102.7m to produce and deliver ten increment three retrofit A-kits and provide for three retrofit A-kit installs.

Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Florida (79.6%); St. Louis, Missouri (10.9%); and Mesa, Arizona (9.5%), and the Government expects this to be completed in November 2026.

FY 2024 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the total amount will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The P-8A Poseidon is a multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft used to conduct long-range maritime and littoral operations, search and rescue missions.

P-8A aircraft are replacing the US Navy’s fleet of 196 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, which are approaching the end of their operational lives. The initial operational capability of P-8A was achieved in November 2013.

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Poseidon incorporates an integrated sensor suite that includes radar, electro-optical, and electronic signal detection sensors to provide search, detection, location, tracking, and targeting capability against surface targets.

An integrated acoustic sonobuoy launch and monitoring system provides search, detection, location, tracking, and targeting capability against submarine targets.

Its sensor systems also provide tactical situational awareness information for dissemination to fleet forces and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) information for exploitation by the joint intelligence community.

Poseidon’s ASW capabilities

The latest modification accommodates for the P-8A’s ASW capability. The aircraft carries Mark 54 torpedoes. It also accommodates for the AGM-84D Block 1C Harpoon anti-ship missile system, which engages both submarine and maritime surface targets.

The Mark 54 torpedo is used in both deep and shallow waters, as well as in acoustic environments. It is capable of tracking, classifying and attacking underwater targets. It has a length of 2.71 metres, a diameter of 32.3 centremetres and weight of 275.7 kilogrammes (kg). The warhead is high explosive and weighs 43.9kg.

Boeing’s ten ‘increment three A-kits’ provides the installation of these network-enabled weapons on the aircraft’s open electronic architecture.