The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) declared Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for its P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, five months ahead of the original schedule.
The Australian Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, congratulated RAAF and Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) on the significant milestone that has been achieved. “Together the P-8A Poseidon and the future MQ-4C Triton aircraft will provide Australia with one of the world’s most advanced maritime patrol and surveillance capabilities,” Minister Payne said.
“The P-8A is a very capable and effective successor to the AP-3C Orion, which will soon retire from the role after nearly 40 years of distinguished service. The Poseidon will improve Defence’s ability to conduct Anti-Submarine warfare, maritime patrol and surveillance of Australia’s maritime approaches”, she added.
Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, said declaring IOC was a significant milestone because the P-8A is a fundamental element of Australian Defence Forces future maritime strategy.
“The arrival of the P-8A has allowed Air Force, under Plan Jericho, to develop and evolve new operating concepts, support arrangements and sustainment options,” Air Marshal Davies said.
“These will best exploit the P-8A’s sensors and networking as part of integrated Navy and Air Force integrated Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Family of Systems. The acquisition of the P-8A represents a $5 billion investment in Australia’s maritime patrol capability and along with the MQ-4C Triton, will be a very capable and effective successor to the AP-3C Orion”, he added.
To date, six of Australia’s 12 P-8As have arrived in Australia, operated by Number 11 Squadron from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.
Boeing P-8 Poseidon
Boeing P-8 Poseidon is a long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft developed for the United States Navy (USN). The aircraft has been developed by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX.
The P-8 conducts anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction, along with an early warning self-protection (EWSP) ability, otherwise known as electronic support measures (ESM).
This involves carrying torpedoes, depth charges, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It is able to drop and monitor sonobuoys. It is designed to operate in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle.
The P-8 is operated by the U.S. Navy, the Indian Navy (as the P-8I Neptune), and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The aircraft has been ordered by the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF), and the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF).