Boeing has been awarded a $1.2bn contract for the manufacture and delivery of 10 Lot 9 full-rate production P-8A aircraft, seven for the US Navy and three for the Royal Air Force.
The UK intends to procure 9 of the aircraft in total and had already ordered two. This brings the orders up to 5.
According to the contract award notification:
“Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington (82.6 percent); Baltimore, Maryland (2.6 percent); Greenlawn, New York (2.4 percent); Cambridge, United Kingdom (1.6 percent); North Amityville, New York (0.9 percent); Rockford, Illinois (0.7 percent); Rancho Santa Margarita, California (0.6 percent); Dickinson, North Dakota (0.6 percent); and various locations in the U.S. (8 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2020. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy); and foreign military sales (FMS) funds in the amount of $1,232,654,575 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
This contract combines purchase for the Navy ($858,242,867; 69.7 percent); and FMS partners ($374,411,708; 30.3 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.”
Recently James Gray, Conservative Member of Parliament for North Wiltshire, has outlined his concerns at the proposed number of P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft the UK is to purchase.
Gray said in response to a question regarding his level of concern at the cuts the Minsitry of Defence is facing:
“More than anything else, the thinking about the possibility of a cold-weather threat is something that we have had and have contributed to NATO for 40 years. This year, at least, we are downgrading it. I am told that the MOD are going to bring it back up again the following year, but I will believe that when I see it, quite frankly. I very much hope they will.
The same applies to maritime patrol aircraft, which are terribly important in all this. All right, we are getting them but only eight [nine] —the P-8s. Will they be enough really to monitor what is happening with Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic?
Our under-ice capability previously was largely to monitor Russian SSBN activity out of Murmansk and elsewhere along the Arctic coast. Without that capability and regular patrols under the ice in the north, do we really know what the Russians are doing with their submarines? Are we allowing the bastion concept, which stretches on the map at least theoretically as far as the Shetland Islands—are we really able to check what is happening there?
I think we risk reducing our capability in the High North. Generals always fight the last war. Everyone is very fussed at the moment about terrorism, counter-insurgency, Syria, Iraq and all that, and quite rightly should be. I’m not knocking that. I just wonder whether we should start to focus our attention back to where the next war will be, or the next area of tension might be, namely the North Atlantic.”
P-8 Poseidon Quick Facts, courtesy of Boeing
- For the P-8, Boeing uses a first-in-industry in-line production system that leverages the best of Boeing Commercial and Boeing Defense for development and production.
- The P-8 can fly up to 41,000 feet and travel up to 490 knots.
- P-8 offers higher reliability – the 737 has a 99.8 percent dispatch rate, with more than 4,000 aircraft flying, and 6,600+ orders.
- The P-8 is engineered for 25 years/25,000 hours in the harshest maritime flight regimes, including extended operations in icing environments.
- The P-8 can fly in all flight regimes, and can self-deploy up to 4,500 miles from base without refueling.
- Dual CFM-56B commercial engines each provide 27,000 pounds of thrust, greatly enhancing climb and flight characteristics over turboprop equipped aircraft.
- Each engine is equipped with a 180KVA engine driven generator. Combined with the 90KVA commercial APU, this provides 450KVA of power. P-8 possesses significant growth capacity for equipment with excess onboard power and cooling capacity.
- P-8 has twice the sonobuoy processing capability and can carry 30 percent more sonobuoys than any maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft currently flying.
- P-8 has the ability to control unmanned air vehicles (level 2 control-receive) to extend sensor reach.
- P-8 offers commonality with 737 fleet and other military platforms that use the 737 airframe.
The aircraft are to be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and be used to protect the UK’s nuclear deterrent and new aircraft carriers. The P-8s are also to perform search-and-rescue missions and conduct overland reconnaissance.