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Boeing awarded $2.5 billion for 19 P-8A Poseidon aircraft for US Navy, UK and Norway

Boeing has been awarded an almost $2.5 billion contract to produce 19 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for the U.S. Navy, Norway and the United Kingdom, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a release.

The $2,458,707,154 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-14-C-0067) provides for the production and delivery of 19 P-8A Lot 10 aircraft, the Friday, January 25 release said.

Ten of the aircraft are for the U.S. Navy, four for the U.K. and five for Norway.

At almost $1.26 billion, the U.S. Navy purchase makes up 51 per cent of the total contract value, while Norway’s almost $695 million makes up 28 per cent, and the U.K.’s almost $507 million makes up 21 per cent.

In March 2018, Boeing was awarded $282,275,771 for procurement of long lead parts for the 19 aircraft.

The U.S. State Department approved the sale to the U.K. of nine P-8A aircraft and associated support at an estimated cost of $3.2 billion in March 2016, while Norway’s purchase of five P-8A aircraft for an estimated $1.75 billion was approved that December.

Last May, then-U.K. Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb and his Norwegian counterpart Tone Skogen discussed plans for operational cooperation between the two nations and their P-8 fleets in the North Atlantic, including sharing training, spares and repair facilities.

Designated Poseidon MRA Mk.1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the first RAF Poseidon will enter service in October 2019 and U.K. initial operating capability is expected to be achieved in 2020.

Norway’s aircraft are scheduled to be delivered between 2022 and 2023.

The RAF announced on January 21 that training was underway at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida for Poseidon crews. The initial group of  38 personnel are a mixture of pilots, Weapon Systems Officers and groundcrew. Training will be carried out in the U.S. for the next three years before the RAF transitions to train all Poseidon personnel in the U.K.

P-8A Poseidon flies over USS Zumwalt
A P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft flies over USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) multi-mission guided-missile destroyer as the ship travels to its new home port of San Diego, California, October 17, 2016. Image: US Navy/Erik Hildebrandt

Developed for the U.S. Navy, the P-8 Poseidon is a modified Boeing 737-800ERX designed to conduct anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare,and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It can carry torpedoes, depth charges, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons, and can drop and monitor sonobuoys.

The P-8 Poseidon is designed to operate alongside the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance drone.

Boeing in October celebrated the completion of the 100th P-8 aircraft, saying at the time that P-8s had accumulated more than 150,000 flight hours.

The U.S. Navy, the Indian Navy, and the Royal Australian Air Force already operate the type.

In September, the sale to South Korea of six P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft and 64 Patriot missiles was approved at an estimated cost of $2.6 billion.

In July, New Zealand said it would purchase four P-8 Poseidons for around $1.61 billion.

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