Boeing Co. has won a $1.5 billion production contract from the U.S. Navy in support of the next 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The contract includes eight aircraft for the U.S. Navy, six aircraft for the Republic of Korea Navy and four aircraft for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The Republic of Korea Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force acquired the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive the same P-8A Poseidon variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2022 and the Republic of Korea Navy is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2023, the company announced.
Boeing described the P-8 as a proven long-range multimission maritime patrol aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. A military derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation airplane, the P-8 “combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the battle space,” according to Boeing.
The P-8 offers maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture and commercial-like support for affordability. The aircraft is modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons. It has two weapons stations on each wing and can carry 129 sono-buoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refueling system.