Defence officials are expected to put a purchase of nine Boeing P-8 maritime patrol aircraft into motion any day now.
According to Flight Global, Andy Miller, commander of the US Navy’s VP-30 training squadron said the decision is expected in June and could even be made in the next seven days.
The MoD plan to have three of nine P-8’s in service by 2020. The information comes from this response to a written question on the 21st of December 2015.
“The Ministry of Defence is currently engaged in detailed negotiations on the Boeing P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft. As the Prime Minister announced to the House on 23 November 2015 (Official Report, column 1059), we intend for at least three of the aircraft to be in place by the end of the Parliament.”
The P-8 Poseidon is an aircraft designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It is capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations. It is a derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800.
The following excerpt comes from this notification.
“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for P-8A Aircraft and associated equipment, training, and support. The estimated cost is $3.2 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on March 24, 2016.
The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) has requested notification for the possible procurement of up to nine (9) P-8A Patrol Aircraft, associated major defense equipment, associated training, and support. The estimated cost is $3.2 billion.
The UK is a close ally and an important partner on critical foreign policy and defense issues. The proposed sale will enhance U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing the UK’s capabilities to provide national defense and contribute to NATO and coalition operations.
The proposed sale will allow the UK to re-establish its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) capability that it divested when it cancelled the Nimrod MRA4 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) program. The United Kingdom has retained core skills in maritime patrol and reconnaissance following the retirement of the Nimrod aircraft through Personnel Exchange Programs (PEPs). The MSA has remained the United Kingdom’s highest priority unfunded requirement. The P-8A aircraft would fulfill this requirement. The UK will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.”
The UK P-8s are also to perform search-and-rescue missions and conduct overland reconnaissance. Deliveries of the P-8’s are to begin before 2020. Whether the aircraft will carry UK weapons and sonobuoys has yet to be decided. It is also unclear whether the UK will have access to future ground-surveillance capabilities being developed for the P-8.