The first two P-8 Poseidon aircraft for the United Kingdom have been ordered under a $2.2bn contract.
Boeing has been awarded the 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.
In November 2015, the UK announced its intention to order nine P-8 aircraft as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015. The aircraft are to be based at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland and be used to protect the UK’s nuclear deterrent and new aircraft carriers, as well as to perform search-and-rescue and overland reconnaissance missions.
In March 2016, the US State Department approved a proposed Foreign Military Sale to the UK for up to nine P-8 aircraft and associated support, at an estimated cost of $3.2 billion.
The Royal Air Force plans to operate the P-8 with US weapons initially, and possibly transition to British weapons later.
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.
Manufacture of the British aircraft will be spread across three production lots over a ten-year period, with deliveries commencing in 2019.