Boeing is awarded an advanced acquisition modification, worth $800 million, by the U.S. Navy in support of lot 11 production and delivery of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.
The purpose of the contract modification is to procure long-lead material and activities in support of 18 Lot 11 P-8A aircraft (8 for U.S. Navy, 4 for New Zealand, and 6 for the Republic of Korea (ROK)/South Korea). The U.S. Department of Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is the contracting activity (N00019-14-C-0067) (P00167).
Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington (97.04%); Huntington Beach, California (2.4%); Mesa, Arizona (.55%) and El Segundo, California (.01%). Work is expected to be completed by June 2020.
The P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was developed by Boeing for the U.S. Navy to replace its aging P-3 Orion fleet. P-8 is a military derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800ERX (737NG) commercial airliner.
The Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) is capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations and is designed to conduct anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare (ASW, ASuW), search and rescue (SAR) and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. They can be armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles (AShM) and can drop and monitor sonobuoys.
The P-8 is operated by the U.S. Navy, the Indian Navy (P-8I India-specific variant)), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF). It has also been ordered by the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN).
South Korea’s P-8A Procurement
In February 2018, South Korea announced that it would procure from new maritime patrol aircraft with stronger anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities in order to better respond to the threat of North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).
The country finally picked Boeing’s P-8 for the role against Swordfish and C295 MPA models offered by Sweden’s Saab and Europe’s Airbus respectively.
After the selection, South Korea requested the sale of six P-8A patrol aircraft and associated equipment and support through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The FMS sale of six P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, worth $2.10 billion, was approved by the U.S. State Department in Sept. 2018.
South Korea ordered six P-8As in March 2019 and expected to be completed by June 2020.
New Zealand P-8A Procurement
In July 2018, the New Zealand Government announced the decision to buy the fleet of four P-8A aircraft at an overall cost of $2.346 billion. The capital cost will be spread over a number of financial years out to 2025/26.
The FMS sale of seven P-8A Poseidon aircraft was approved by the U.S. State Department in April 2017.
The four aircraft will replace the six aging P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) that have been operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) since the 1960s. The current Orion fleet will reach the end of their expected operational life in 2025.
No. 5 Squadron RNZAF, which currently operates the Orions, will shift from Whenuapai (RNZAF Base Auckland) to RNZAF Base Ohakea to operate the P-8As. The P-8As will be delivered and begin operations from 2023.