Australia’s fleet of P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft is complete following the arrival of the 12th Boeing-built aircraft at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.
Announced by the Australian Government, the delivery caps off a process that began with the arrival of the first P-8A in Australia in November 2016.
The P-8As have already been used for Australian border protection surveillance (Operation Resolute); in a multi-national effort to monitor the movement of maritime cargo into North Korea (Operation Argos), and to support international efforts to promote maritime security in the Middle East (Operation Manitou).
The P-8A Poseidon and the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft (UAS), are replacing the AP-3C Orion aircraft.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the cutting edge anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft will enhance Australia’s maritime security.
“The aircraft can be refuelled while flying by tanker aircraft such as Australia’s KC-30A, making it possible to patrol Australia’s isolated Southern Ocean territories,” Minister Reynolds said.
The 2016 Australian Defence White Paper flagged 15 new Poseidon P-8As with the Australian Government so far committing to 12. The White Paper also flagged seven unmanned MQ-4C Triton aircraft to complement the P-8A on border patrol and maritime surveillance.
Two of an initial six of the unmanned Tritons have been approved with the first aircraft expected to be delivered to the RAAF in 2023.