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.

23 COMMENTS

  1. I hope the fact that many nations have this will make buying decent equipment for them much more likely as it should be cheaper.

  2. It’s going to take 10yrs before we have all our aircraft?? Are you serious??? Why Mr Fallon?? So it will be at least 17yrs from when Cameron made the stupendously stupid idea to scrap our MPA capability until it’s fully restored – absolutely ridiculous!

    • Maybe I’m being overly generous here but won’t having the buy spread out over a decade mean we have some available now but will get newer airframes later that will last longer?

      • Hi Peter. You are correct in what you say but unfortunately for us, we need the airframes now – not in 10yrs. Putin must be loving this! He can send his boats over to sniff around with virtual impunity for many more years to come! Admittedly, we no longer have much left to spy on…..

  3. 10 yrs, That’s ridiculous…In 2016 BBC reported that in 2015 Boeing delivered 762 aircraft, and stated figures of…”Last year (2015), the US manufacturer delivered 120 of its 737s in the final three months of last year, slightly below the target production rate of 42 a month”. Admittedly these were probably mainly civil, I’m not sure…but 10 Yrs for a MPA for national security….Maybe we should have gone with the Kawasaki P1 at that rate…looks very much a more purposeful maritime aircraft…and wasn’t it actually cheaper?

  4. I can only assume that it is because we are so cash-strapped that the cashflow isn’t there to accelerate the purchases and this government is so obsessed with reducing the deficit that it won’t contemplate more borrowing via (for this case) 10 year bonds to resolve the situation even though interest rates are so low. I’m not defending the government, just saying that I doubt the issue is to do with production rates and would have been any different if we had gone with the Kawasaki P1.

    • I’m afraid it is not an obsession with reducing the deficit. It if was that alone we would allocate existing resources differently.

      We could increase and pay for the entire order 10 x over from the Aid budget. There are many other examples.

      This is about political choices. Regardless of rhetoric, none of the parties are truly serious about Defence, it’s just that some are less terrible than others. We’ll see what the manifestos say but I fear it will be more of the same.

      • I agree that priorities are wrong re the size of the aid budget but there is little else where you could say that a department is over-funded (NHS, social care, education, police – don’t forget that welfare isn’t subject to fixed capped budgets). If it was only defence that was underfunded then things would be easier but it isn’t so it really only seems to leave the aid budget from where current allocations could be re-directed, or more borrowing.

        Regarding manifestos yes we will see but let’s face it, when we will really see is shortly after the election since I believe that the Conservatives have committed to another SDSR very soon after getting back into power (and they will be getting back into power). Sadly this does not seem to be a cause for optimism since this new SDSR is very likely to be to address funding shortfalls against the existing SDSR 2015 plans, in part due to the exchange rate movements after the referendum, and we all know how governments tend to react to defence funding shortfalls (hint – it’s not to allocate more funding).

        • I agree public sector is underfunded. We dont have to give away another £7.5b pa in tax cuts as another example of choices.

  5. Agree with some of the comments that the Kawasaki P1 would have been a better buy.
    longer ranged, 4 engines. 10 years is a stupendously long time to get just 9 planes built and into service. As with much in SDSR2015 it was a case of announce it now get it.. Sometime in the future. Really poor. No sense of urgency to fill capability gaps that are a huge void in our order of battle. If we have no money to pay for this, and other defence contracts where is all the tax I pay going?

    • Au contraire, mon brave. A giant compared to his successor, with the best approval ratings of an outgoing president that few can boast.

      • O’s “high approval ratings” were bolstered by the left wing establishment. They were higher than the really were. If O’s and Dems ratings were so high, why did the Dems get beat so badly in the elections? Most of the US is under Rep control.
        O gutted the military and is hated by them. Most of the military were glad that T got elected most of them voted for him. He got the most of the military votes out of the candidates and were far more than what O received.

        • ‘the left wing establishment’

          No such thing in the USA. As for Trump, he lost the popular vote but the ludicrous nature of the electoral college system (which he condemned in the past) put there as a backstop by the founding fathers to prevent someone ‘unsuitable’ being elected, put him in office. His ratings are the worst for any new president ever.

  6. Nimrod MRA4 was to have been a world beater. It was rumoured that there was approximately £200 million left to spend. They were almost in service. Then suddenly they were chopped up! BILLIONS wasted at a single stroke. Now BILLIONS more for these new airframes. SDSR 2010 was a joke and it left this Country totally defenceless.

  7. I agree that 10 years is unacceptable, but given the dismal state of MOD funding, we will be lucky to get all nine aircraft , let alone any American weapons to put on them. UK P-8 aircraft fitted for but not with sonobuoys. torpedoes, ASM or any useful weapon. We can always equip the P-8’s with under wing ‘rocks’ and attempt to dive bomb any surface target.

  8. Boring aircraft compared to the alternatives, but think taxpayer will be happier. Nimrod MR4 seems bonkers with hindsight, given that the Uk aircrew have been playing in those for years with the US, likely they are a capable choice and does all we need, can see these staying pretty much as we buy them apart from common upgrades, rather than tying to immigrate a load of Uk specific tech.

    • ‘Nimrod MR4 seems bonkers with hindsight’

      2 in service and one undergoing engine trials before the tories axed the project.

      • 2 aircraft at a cost of 4bn and going up, and not finished with unresolved aerodynamic issues. beautiful and uneque it would have been ( each one of them)!, but vastly more expensive with an airframe that was a dogs breakfast of salvaged and new parts. add in the cost of traing and support which no way can be less or easier than a 737 based system used by so many operators.

  9. Don’t believe all you read. I believe all 9 ariframes will be delivered well within a 10 year period. Procurement is bring aided by off the shelf purchase work all American kit who h our crews are already very familiar with. P8 is the best at what it does. There were Nimrod MR4 prototype airframe flying, none were actually in service. Was a huge waste of money to scrap, but there were a lot of unresolved issues!

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