Boeing has been awarded a $2.2 billion contract for at least 17 P-8 Poseidon aircraft.

The agreement also includes options for 32 additional aircraft, as well as money for long-lead parts for future orders. After exercising all options, the total contract value will be $6.8 billion.

Jamie Burgess, vice president of Boeing Military Aircraft’s Mobility, Surveillance & Engagement division and the P-8 programme manager said:

“The P-8A is a textbook example of Boeing’s commercial derivative expertise. Every day our customers get to fly incredible aircraft that perform exceptionally well and are built by the best of Boeing.”

The US Navy will receive 11 aircraft, while Australia will expand its P-8A fleet with four more. The UK’s first two P-8A jets are part of the agreement, with first delivery set for 2019.

Boeing so far has delivered 53 Poseidons to the Navy and two to the Royal Australian Air Force.



  1. After the smash up of the Nimrod force when two were in service and a third undergoing engine trials the UK now has to fill the huge gap with foreign aircraft.

    • I’m sorry but the Mk 4 was a four billion pound political nonsense. Trying to marry old air frames with different wings and then fitting upgraded engines BEFORE even trying and fitting the avionics on a project that was nine years overdue was doomed to disaster from the outset. Two aircraft were at the production stage but there were dozens upon dozens of issues still to be resolved. We should have gone with the Orion 2000 in 2002/03.

          • It’s a year ago, so all I can add is that the two aircraft were in squadron service, not in production stage, and that they were seen at MIA being painted in squadron colours.

        • Well its pretty well documented. They had massive issues. I was on the VC10 program in the 90’s and we had a terrible time reconditioning the old airframes. Waste of money but it kept thousands in employment at Filton and elsewhere.

      • They (PA4 and PA5) were in flight test prior to being commissioned and presumably stood up, when the program was cancelled. I think PA6 was nearly ready to go. The pilots (and RAF) loved them, and were savage they were cancelled. The MRA4 was very quiet at low level unlike the P3. Don’t know about the P8-A.

    • What HMG should have done is done a similar deal with the US when they were modifying the 737 to create the P8a as they did with the F35.

    • Having spent whatever, £5 billion on an MPA with great attack capability, the defence budget panicked and cancelled them to save £1 billion. But at that time the Russian sub threat was considered to be low …

      Don’t know how the P8’s attack capability compares to the MRA4.

    • If my memory is correct Australia has bought/is buying 8 with the option of 4 more, when you consider how much ocean the Aussies need to cover i’d say 9 for the UK is sufficient.

    • Q.2 – a lot depends on whether post YES vote talks are sensibly defence minded like shared defence, NATO, where they actually patrol and future needs like Arctic passages – or a load of political mud-slinging and stupidity. My guess is optimistically the former.

  2. Good news.
    Just been reading Chris Gibson’s excellent series of books regarding british aircraft kerfuffles. It strikes me that seems to have been a consistent perfect storm of dwindling funds, poor industry/governmental management and at times, peculiar service demands.
    The MR4 seemed to be a good case in point. You couldn’t make it up.

  3. 9 is not enough when you consider training, maintenance and protecting Trident. I would suggest another batch of 9 which would get us back to the sort of numbers that was proposed with Nimrod. Personally I would like to see 24 which would enable the UK to deploy them regularly overseas as they will become a great asset and force multiplier when they enter service.

  4. The RAAF will operate 12 P8 plus has confirmed it will order 7 Triton HALE UAVs which are currently in final stages of testing of the platform in the US. The Triton will have significantly longer on station time than the P8 but is not weaponised.

    This is in addition to 10 DHC Dash 8 turboprop Coastwatch aircraft operated by a private contractor for the Australian Government.

    They are capable maritime surveillance aircraft equipped with Raytheon SeaVue surface search radars with additional Inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR), Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and Moving target indication (MTI) capability, advanced electro-optical sensors and sophisticated communications suites.

    They can operate day and night below lowest safe altitude and can search an area of 110,000 km² per flight. They provide an additional 20,000 hours flight time to supplement the RAAF.

    So Australia’s maritime surveillance capability will shortly be: 12 P8 + 7 Triton + 10 Dash 8

  5. Thanks for the info Oscar Zula; I’m broadly with @sjb1969 re numbers as part of a meanigful layered air and sea defence of the realm plan inc EEZ and sea lanes.

    Australia does not have CASD, nor a navy the size of UK, nor a CVW (although it will have 2 x Canberra class when HMS Ocean’s impending end will mean we have none). Australia is far more capable than the UK of being self sustaining if its sea lanes were closed.

    IMHO the UK is now MUCH LESS able to sustain itself with food, energy or goods than we were in WW2; our population is c40% bugger than 1939, JIT inventories, fewer larger merchant vessels, anti shipping missles etc. Other than nuclear obliiteration, blockade remains the best way to bring us to our knees.

    Ergo, nine P8s feels to me like much of the rest of our military spending; we will have world class capability, but no depth or sustainability other than in the most peaceful of peacetimes.

    • The situation is utterly different to what it was in the second world war,the comparison doesn’t stand up.
      We are now part of something called NATO, you might have heard of it.

      • NATO breeds British complacency. We are the only island in NATO. We rely on our allies for our air / sea lanes at our peril. The last few months should be a wake up call of how history repeats itself…

        Only the dead have seen the last of war

  6. If submarines threatened Atlantic lanes, resupply through the air would be a much more viable option than it was in 1940 when precious few aircraft could cross the Atlantic with significant payloads. There are thousands of 747s and similar aircraft that could be used in a pinch. We also should consider the much greater number of allied ASW assets available to help us. Having said all of that, I still think we need more than nine P8s. Look at the number of similar aircraft deployed by the Japanese. What do they know that we don’t (or vice-versa)? Another island nation… significant submarine threat…

  7. What i have never understood is why there is no air equivalent to the ship based anti-missile missile systems.

    A sub with some basic anti-air missiles, is going to make short work of the p8’s. Additionally considering they will be our only air assets that can take out ships, they have no way to defend themselves when the ships they are attacking hit back.

  8. UK should definetly follow up p8 order with a 2nd batch of 9. That would provide an adequate MPA force. The posts about Australia are correct in that Australia has a huge coast line and EEZ. However Australia could not be starved by submarine blockade as they could easily grow enough food on their huge land mass to survive a sustained submarine blockade. UK cannot do this. Farming today last week said if farming was 100% maximally efficient we could get to 75-80% of our food requirements but that would involve turning over every piece of land to food production.
    better get more P8s, astute class subs, type 26+ type 31s, that would seem a prudent idea. Instead of spending £13 billion on foreign aid, we should be making sure we have negligible capability gaps and can deploy armed forces in adequate numbers. Current force levels offer no reserve if there are any losses in combat.

    • On the foreign aid Front I have an idea.

      Why does the government not allocate the tax benefits given to charities that provide foreign aid as part of its foreign aid budget. It seems to me that foreign aid is getting far more than £13bn from the UK if charities claim tax back on funding that is destined to go abroad I think our government should have a say in that.

      For money staying in the UK – no problem. Just a thought

    • Could not agree more re overseas aid. Much should be transferred directly to the MoD.
      However, much on your wish list is a pipe dream that is not going to happen! 9 more P8? I’d be on my knees for 2 more! Kit needs the facilities and people to man it. Lets try to get modest improvements in our overstretched forces rather than finding billions to double the MPA order.


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