The Australian Department of Defence has signed a contract with Boeing Defence Australia to support the country's next generation of maritime patrol and response aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon.

Under the agreement, Boeing will support the sustainment of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft for a period of four years, which is expected to generate more than 35 employment opportunities in South Australia.

Minister for the Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said: “This contract continues to deliver on the Turnbull Government’s commitment to using Australia’s defence expenditure to the benefit of both Australia’s national security interests and the economic health of this important employment sector.”

"The P-8A is a world class Maritime Patrol and Response aircraft."

Australia is planning to operate 15 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. According to the Australian airforce, the Poseidon aircraft will replace the existing fleet of AP-3C Orion aircraft.

The P-8A, based on Boeing's next-generation 737-800 commercial airplane, is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft designed to ensure maximum interoperability in the future battle space.

It is fitted with a communication suite featuring radios and data links across the VHF, UHF, HF and SATCOM spectrums.

The aircraft has an internal fuel capacity of 34t, which enables it to conduct low-level anti-submarine warfare missions at a distance of greater than 2,000km from base.

Pyne added: “The P-8A is a world class Maritime Patrol and Response aircraft and Australian Defence industry support will be a critical enabler to our military’s operational capability in the region.”

“Importantly Australian defence industry involvement in the sustainment of this aircraft will provide regional support for the global P-8A fleet and has the potential to improve opportunities for Australian defence industry participation in future support activities.”

Image: A P-8A Poseidon aircraft at Canberra International Airport, Australia. Photo: courtesy of YSSYguy.