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​RAAF P-8As achieve IOC five months ahead of schedule

The Royal Australian Air Force's Boeing P-8A Poseidon fleet has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC).

The IOC for the 737-based maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft came five months ahead of schedule, says defence minister Marise Payne.

The RAAF has taken delivery of six P-8As from an overall order book of 12. The type is operated by the No. 11 sqn. from RAAF Edinburgh.

“The arrival of the P-8A has allowed Air Force, under Plan Jericho, to develop and evolve new operating concepts, support arrangements and sustainment options," adds RAAF air marshal Leo Davies.

“These will best exploit the P-8A’s sensors and networking as part of integrated Navy and Air Force integrated Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Family of Systems."

Announced in early 2015, Plan Jericho emphasizes the seamless integration of airborne assets, as it continues to induct new platforms.

Canberra is committed to an eventual acquisition of the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton, and has hinted that it could obtain "up to seven".

The capability offered by the P-8A/Triton combination will replace the RAAF’s aged fleet of Lockheed AP-3C Orions.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the RAAF has 11 in-service AP-3Cs, with five examples retired from September 2014 to December 2017.

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