The P-8A programme continues to hum along. The US Navy, the primary customer for the aircraft, currently has a requirement for 117 P-8As.
Douglas Royce is a Military Aircraft Analyst at Forcast International. Forecast International is a major provider of ‘Market Intelligence and Consulting in the areas of aerospace, defence, power systems and military electronics’.
“We expect the service to procure the remaining 6 aircraft during FY20. With production following procurement by about two years, Boeing is forecast to deliver the 117th Navy P-8A in 2022. We expect Congress to extend P-8A procurement in FY21-FY23, adding about 21 aircraft to the current total requirement. However, this portion of the forecast is speculative.
On the export front, Boeing initially delivered eight P-8Is to India during 2012-2015. Boeing scored a follow-on order for four more aircraft in July 2016. The Indian government is expected to order ten more aircraft in the near term.
Australia initially ordered eight P-8As under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program to replace its small fleet of Lockheed AP-3Cs. Deliveries began in early 2017. Australia exercised options to order another four aircraft through the USN’s FRP IV procurement in March 2017.While total RAAF procurement is likely to remain at 12 aircraft, the service may order another three aircraft. By September 2019, Boeing had officially delivered 12 P-8As to the RAAF, though the final two aircraft will undertake verification and validation flights in the United States before flying to Australia in January 2020.”
The forecast includes a generic line for export production starting in 2019. This line includes the production for the United Kingdom, which signed a contract covering nine aircraft for the RAF under the U.S. FMS program in July 2016. The first aircraft will be delivered in 2019.
“Norway is another customer this line covers. In March 2017, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense announced it had signed a contract covering five aircraft. Deliveries will run from 2021 through 2022. In July 2018, New Zealand announced plans to order four P-8As through the FMS program. The procurement of these aircraft is expected as part of the Pentagon’s FY20 budget. Deliveries are to begin in 2023. South Korea selected the P-8A in June 2018 to fill what is expected to be a six-aircraft requirement for new maritime patrol aircraft to complement the country’s existing fleet of 16 Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion MPAs. We believe this selection will result in a firm order.”
Overall, the potential size of the P-8A export market is not large. The P-8A is a far more expensive option than maritime patrol versions of military transports and commuter aircraft, but it offers a higher level of capability than those converted aircraft.