Boeing Defence Australia has commenced its first deep maintenance work on a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The work, taking place at RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia, involves “in-depth, complex and specialised maintenance services”, says Boeing. It occurs after the aircraft has served for 72 months, and generally takes place in the USA.
“Boeing Defence Australia has proven credentials in delivering deeper maintenance in Australia on the E-7A Wedgetail, F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet and F-111,” says Darryn Fletcher, Boeing Defence Australia director of commercial derivative aircraft.
“We have also provided through-life sustainment services for [the] RAAF’s P-8A fleet since their introduction into service in 2016.”
In addition to improving the readiness of RAAF P-8As, he adds, having a deep MRO capability for the type in Australia has “positive implications” for the region’s other P-8A operators.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force is to receive four P-8As, with the first aircraft recently emerging from the paint shop at Boeing’s facility in Renton, Washington.
In September 2021, Boeing Defence Australia signed a A$60 million ($41.7 million) deal to provide deep maintenance on the RAAF P-8A fleet.
“A new purpose-built hangar will be commissioned in 2025 but, with deeper maintenance scheduled to commence this year, we were part of a group led by Defence and including RAAF and local industry, to modify a hangar on base to accommodate the extended facilities required for deeper maintenance,” adds Fletcher.
“This enables us to meet our contractual obligations without sending the aircraft interstate and keeps all P-8A servicing under one roof.”
Cirium fleets data shows that the RAAF operates 12 P-8As, with an average aircraft age of 4.6 years.
Globally, there are 156 of the 737-derivative in service, with the majority (118) serving with the US Navy.