The Canadian government has agreed to purchase at least 14 Boeing P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft, with deliveries scheduled to start in 2026.
“Canada has finalised a government-to-government agreement with the United States government for the acquisition of up to 16 P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force,” the country’s Department of National Defence said on 30 November.
It adds that Canada will buy 14 of the aircraft but holds options to acquire another two.
Boeing confirms the news, saying Canada signed a “letter of offer and acceptance” for the jets under the US government’s Foreign Military Sales programme.
Canada expects to receive roughly one P-8A monthly starting in 2026, to have all the aircraft by roughly autumn 2027 and to achieve full operational capability with the type in 2033.
It has budgeted $10.4 billion for the project, including $5.9 billion for the aircraft, associated equipment, training devices and sustainment, and $4.5 billion for simulators, infrastructure and weapons.
“We are confident that the P-8A delivers the best anti-submarine and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for our country. The aircraft will operate seamlessly with allies,” Canada’s defence department adds.
Canada had been evaluating the Boeing jets under its Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft project – an effort to replace its Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion patrol aircraft, which Canada designates as CP-140 Auroras.
Canada has operated the CP-140 Auroras for more than 40 years.
“The CP-140 aircraft is becoming increasingly difficult to support, expensive to sustain and less operationally relevant in comparison to the threats against which it must defend,” says Canada’s defence department. “This procurement will allow Canada to seamlessly transition to a replacement capability, thereby ensuring that Canada can continue to meet its domestic needs and international obligations.”
Canadian manufacturer Bombardier also competed for the multi-mission aircraft order, offering the government a militarised variant of its Global 6500 business jet.
Bombardier expresses “disappointment” that Canada’s government “decided to award a generational contract without an open and fair competition, and without fully evaluating its home-grown industry’s multi-mission aircraft capabilities”, the Montreal company said on 30 November. “There is still a bright future for maritime surveillance platforms that Bombardier is ready, willing and able to offer Canada.”
But Canada’s government says P-8As are best suited to defend the Canada’s maritime approaches and Arctic interests, citing capabilities including tracking and engaging “advanced surface and sub-surface threats using an array of highly sophisticated sensors and weapons”.
“The Boeing P-8A Poseidon is the right aircraft to fulfil this role,” says Canadian minister of national defence Bill Blair.
Canada had in March disclosed its intention to acquire the Boeing jets. The deal aligns Canada with several allies that also operate P-8As, including Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.
Boeing notes that 81 Canadian companies supply the P-8 programme.
“The P-8 will bolster Canada’s defence capability and readiness, and we look forward to delivering this capability,” says Boeing Defense, Space & Security business development president Heidi Grant.