Boeing to start construction of first two P-8A Poseidons for UK

The U.S. Navy has awarded Boeing a $68.4 million contract to start procuring long-lead parts for the production of two P-8A maritime patrol aircraft for the UK government.

The contract is part of a larger approx. £3 billion contract under which the UK is to receive nine maritime patrol aircraft.

The new aircraft, which will be based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, will play a vital role in protecting the UK’s nuclear deterrent and the UK’s two new aircraft carriers. They will also be able to locate and track hostile submarines, and will enhance the UK’s maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) capability. This capability will also bring economic benefits to Scotland and the wider UK, with an additional 400 personnel based at RAF Lossiemouth, according to the UK ministry of defense.

Boeing has welcomed the contract award on social media saying the contract will help prepare for the production of P-8As for the Royal Air Force.

The U.S. Navy has recently awarded Boeing another $60.8 million to finalize work on upgrades for the P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft. Under the contract, the American aerospace company will perform a critical design review of the Minotaur mission system, multi-static active coherent enhancements and wide-band satellite communications upgrades.

In addition, new computing and security architecture, automated digital network system, common data link upgrades, anti-surface warfare signal intelligence, combat system architecture improvements, and communication capability upgrades were to be reviewed.

The P-8A is a derivative of a modified Boeing 737-800ERX airliner, featuring a high-bypass turbo fan jet engine with a fully connected, open architecture mission system. The armament of the Poseidon consists of five internal and six external stations for AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, AGM-84 Harpoon, Mark 54 torpedo, and a High Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon system among others.

Development of the P-8A program was started in June 2004 when the U.S. Navy selected the Boeing multimission maritime aircraft, 737 MMA, as the best successor to the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.