Australia details P-8 introduction plan

Australia has confirmed a plan to buy eight 737-based P-8A maritime surveillance aircraft from Boeing, following the US and Indian navies in ordering the type (US Navy image below).


The fact that Canberra has approved the roughly A$4 billion ($3.6 billion) transaction isn’t a surprise – it has been involved in the P-8 and precursor MMA project since 2007, after all – and its AP-3C replacement should achieve initial operational capability in 2019. You can find out more details by reading our report on the selection by Canberra-based correspondent Andrew McLaughlin, who also expects an MQ-4C Triton order to follow within months.

I had a quick chat with a crew member from the US Navy P-8A which visited the recent Singapore air show from Okinawa, Japan, and he described the transition from the P-3C Orion to the new model as being “a night and day difference”. While the Poseidon still has a way to go with its fleet introduction and receiving additional capabilities, Australia should be flying increment 3-standard examples operationally by 2021. I expect that the Nimrod-less UK might well be watching closely.

Boeing hasn’t done all that badly with making sales to the Australian Defence Force of late: 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets (and 12 EA-18G Growlers to follow, on top of an in-service fleet of almost 70 “Classic” Hornets); six C-17s; six 737-based Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft; and seven CH-47Fs (to replace six D-model Chinooks).


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

6 Responses to Australia details P-8 introduction plan

  1. K.B. 24 February, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    “A night and day difference” – Which time of day belongs to which type?

    There are quite critical voices about the current capabilities of the P-8A – indeed “a way to go”.

    • Craig Hoyle 25 February, 2014 at 6:55 am #

      Well, it’s at least quicker and more comfy, I expect.

    • puppethead 26 February, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

      Hence Australia waiting for the Increment 2 Poseidons. The biggest problem as I see it is replacing 18 Orions with 8 Poseidons – no-one’s ever going to be actually stopped or saved by a Triton…

  2. Jason Simmons 3 March, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Plus four options which will be confirmed as the big ticket item in the next white paper, plus 7 MQ-4C Tritons, which equals a one for one replacement, but FAR more capability than we presently have.

    We have 19 Orions, 3 are trainer only and at least two are equipped for ‘special mission’ purposes (think EP-3E…)

    14 prop driven AP-3C Orion’s for an operational MPA fleet or 12 full-up P-8A’s plus 7 MQ-C4′s? I think the case for more capability is pretty straightforward, especially given C-27J and C-130J will chip in where needed too for rescues.

  3. rob 10 March, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    India’s P8 apparently got MAD but the US did not!
    Any news whether Australia will get one – or exactly like US version?

    • Craig Hoyle 10 March, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

      I believe they will be the same as those for the USN; not the Indian version.

Leave a Reply