Royal Australian Air Force Receives Sixth P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft

Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) Boeing Seattle delivered the sixth P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on Jan. 12.

It was the contracting office’s first foreign military aircraft international direct delivery under the cooperative Poseidon program. DCMA’s five-member team paired with six RAAF maintainers on a journey of more than 9,400 miles that began in Seattle and ended at RAAF’s 11 Squadron based at the RAAF Base Edinburgh in Adelaide, South Australia.

Although this was the sixth P-8A delivered to Australia, it was the first involving international travel. RAAF’s 11 Squadron previously conducted aircraft receipt inspections at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, and then ferried each P-8A from the air station to its Edinburgh base.

“Due to the RAAF operational tasking and a projected early aircraft delivery date, (Australia’s) AIR 7000 Project Office, on behalf of the 11 Squadron and 92 Wing, requested the Navy Joint Project Office assistance with delivering RAAF P-8A aircraft number six directly to Australia from Seattle,” said Air Force Capt. Rachel Del Grosso, DCMA Boeing Seattle P-8 international program integrator. “After initial discussions brought up an opportunity to provide significant cost and schedule savings to the RAAF with a direct DCMA delivery to Australia instead of delivery to Jacksonville, Florida.

“Soon, planning began with our leadership, P-8 Joint Program Office DAPML, (Naval Air Systems Command) PMA-290 and AIR 7000 Project Office in Canberra, Australia.”

During the three-month planning period, leadership discussed the challenges this effort presented. While crossing the Pacific Ocean is unique, they quickly discovered DCMA Boeing Seattle’s over-arching customer service philosophy would remain unchanged.

“Working with our industry counterparts, we are one team with one mission, delivering a quality product to the Navy and our allied partners,” said Del Grosso.

DCMA Director Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis designed his commander’s intent to drive organizational success. It focuses on delivery, best value and fluidity. Del Grosso said her team’s efforts support these concepts.

“The delivery milestone echoes Vice Adm. David Lewis’ three tenants of command: We Deliver, We Must Always Provide ‘Best Value’ to the Nation, and Work Smarter Not Harder to be leaders and innovators,” said Del Grosso. “The delivery also resonates with Defense Secretary James Mattis’ three lines of effort: Lethality and Readiness, Strengthening Alliances and Partnerships, and Reforming Business Practices.”

After several months of planning over meetings that crossed three time zones, the DCMA crew departed Seattle’s Boeing Field. The trip consisted of three stops and more than 24 hours of flight time. The first was at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, to pick up the six RAAF maintenance crew members. The second leg ended at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and the trip concluded in Australia.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chad Fischer, DCMA Boeing Seattle’s government flight representative, called the experience “a monumental achievement for DCMA, JPO, NAVAIR, PMA-290 and the Australian Project Office team supporting ongoing allied operations,” as he stepped off the plane to greet Squadron Leader Justin Taylor, 11 Squadron RAAF senior engineering officer.

Fischer shared the honor of delivering the Poseidon with fellow GFR, Navy Lt. Denis Alford, Del Grosso, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geffen Camp, and John Brady, a contracted tactical coordinator.

According to the Naval Air Systems Command, the P-8A Poseidon is the U.S. Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. It is a multi-mission capable replacement aircraft for the legacy P-3C Orion. The P-8A is designed to improve an operator’s ability to conduct anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Additionally, it’s combat-capable and provides warfighters added protection.

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).

Thomas Perry, DCMA

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