Australia Air Force’s maritime patrol capability will be boosted with the government set to acquire two more P-8A Poseidon surveillance and response aircraft, bringing the total fleet size to 14.
The government has also approved sustainment funding for the current approved fleet of three MQ-4C Triton aircraft.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the announcement is part of the Morrison Government’s AU$270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade.
“Together, the Poseidon and the Triton will provide Australia with one of the most advanced maritime patrol and response capabilities in the world,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The Poseidon is a proven capability that will conduct tasks including anti-submarine warfare, maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and support to search and rescue missions.”
“These additional aircraft will enhance Air Force’s flexibility to support multiple operations and will play an important role in ensuring Australia’s maritime region is secure for generations to come.”
The additional Poseidon aircraft are to be purchased through the country’s existing cooperative program with the United States Navy. Minister Reynolds said being part of the program with the US Navy allows Australia to share in the benefits of their technical expertise and divide project costs.
The Poseidon is a highly versatile, long endurance platform capable of a range of mission types including Maritime Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance and striking targets above and below the ocean’s surface.
The planned integration of the Long Range Anti-ship Missile (LRASM) into Air Force capability will also allow it to strike adversary surface vessels at significantly increased ranges.