Despite competition from maritime patrol aircraft such as the Saab Swordfish and Kawasaki P-1, Boeing says it sees sustained interest in its P-8A Poseidon from Asian and Middle Eastern countries, especially after lowering its cost and adding an additional crew workstation.
Just last week the Royal New Zealand Air Force agreed to buy four of the maritime patrol aircraft for $1.6 billion. And, in June 2018, South Korea purchased four P-8A Poseidons for $1.7 billion.
The sustained interest has the manufacturer projecting that it could sell as many as 200 examples of the aircraft over the type's lifetime, including 75 orders from non-US customers. The aircraft has been ordered by the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, India and Norway.
"Why you are seeing a lot of interest is because we have the price down to the lowest it's ever been," said Matt Carreon, head of global sales and marketing for the aircraft. "The costs have gone down over 30 percent from the start of the programme."
Boeing declined to share an approximate cost for the aircraft, saying that the price varies significantly depending on its configuration.
Carreon was keen to point out that the P-8A, which is a modified Boeing 737-800 jetliner, has a lot of room to support various configurations and missions, from maritime patrol to search and rescue operations. It can carry up to 21 people, though it typically holds three pilots and six crew members. The company recently added a sixth crew workstation to the aircraft.
"In terms of crew comfort, it’s much better [than the competition]," Carreon says. "When you are talking about 8, 9 to 10h missions, crews get less fatigue which helps them perform the mission better."