Australia has taken delivery of its newest maritime surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, at a ceremony in Seattle, USA.
The aircraft is now undergoing its verification and validation flying in the United States, and will join the rest of the fleet in Australia, based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.
The received P-8A is one of two aircraft still to be transferred from the US to Australia.
Ten of the twelve aircraft are already operating in Edinburgh, with the remaining two aircraft expected to be in Australia by January 2020.
“The P-8A Poseidon aircraft is a cutting edge aircraft that will conduct tasks including anti-submarine warfare, maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and support to search and rescue missions,” Australian defense minister Linda Reynolds said.
Poseidon 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, in US Navy configuration, 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 program started in June 2004 when the US Navy selected the Boeing multimission maritime aircraft, 737 MMA, as the best successor to the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft