Aussie air force kicks in on P-8A spy planes

P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Australia's air force, not its navy, would fly the P-8A planes.

The U.S. Navy has awarded Boeing a $295 million contract to supply parts for 12 more P-8A maritime surveillance aircraft. Four aircraft are destined for the Royal Australian Air Force, the Pentagon said Aug. 14.

The Australian government will pay 49 percent of the cost ($143.6 million), DOD added.

Boeing said earlier this month is had delivered its 15th production P-8A Poseidon patrol plane to the Naval Air Station at Jacksonville, Fla. The patrol aircraft are used for anti-submarine warfare along with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. They are replacing the Navy's fleet of P-3 ASW aircraft.

Boeing is currently under contract to build 53 P-8As, most recently being awarded a $2.4 billion contract in February for 16 of the aircraft. Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Md., wants to eventually buy 117 of the planes, which are based on the Boeing 737-800 commercial airframe.

The Navy began deploying its new P-8A fleet at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, last year.

Raytheon supplies the patrol plane's maritime surveillance radar and signal intelligence suite. Northrop Grumman provides electronic support measures as well as infrared countermeasures.

Along with Australia, Boeing said the Italian navy has also expressed interest in purchasing P-8A aircraft.

About the Author

George Leopold is a contributing editor for Defense Systems and author of Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom."Connect with him on Twitter at @gleopold1.

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