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.


Source: Commonwealth of Australia

An RAAF P-8A in Hawaii for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in July 2022

“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.