The US Navy has added nine aircraft worth at least $1.8 billion to the programme of record for the Boeing P-8A Poseidon programme.
The extra aircraft have been added based on the results of a recent force structure analysis by the office of the chief of naval operations, says Neal Rothback, the P-8A programme's deputy integrated product team leader, but he declines to elaborate on the scope of the results.
The change increases Boeing's order backlog for P-8A from 114 to 123, including six P-8Is ordered by the Indian navy. Australia has also agreed to collaborate on developing the requirements for an Increment 2 upgrade planned in 2015, although Canberra has not committed to purchase aircraft.
Since 25 April, Boeing has flown the first two test aircraft, and both are now being equipped with instrumentation for continuing the flight-test phase, says Tony Parasida, Boeing's vice-president for airborne surveillance aircraft. A third flight-test aircraft should be flown by the end of the year, he adds.