The US Navy has initiated a process that could lead to placing a five-year order for up to 72 Boeing P-8A Poseidon, if the Department of Defense and Congress grants a multi-year procurement (MYP) authority.

An acquisition notice released on 21 December seeks to transition the P-8A acquisition programme from annual purchases to an MYP format over the last five years of production from Fiscal 2015-19.

The US military services normally acquire aircraft in annual lots, but can ask for multi-year authority if certain conditions are met. The Department of Defense often requires a minimum 10% discount on price and a stable production system in exchange for making a multi-year commitment.

Boeing delivered the first of 117 production P-8As to the US Navy on 4 March ahead of standing up the first operational unit by the end of next year.

The P-8A, based on the commercial 737-800ERX, is due to replace the Navy's aging Lockheed P-3s for maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare. The aircraft will work closely with about 60 Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Tritons, unmanned aircraft that will be used to identify and guide the armed P-8As to the target.

The Navy has also purchased two additional C-40s, a military transport version of the 737-700. The two new aircraft will bring the Navy's total C-40 fleet to 14 aircraft, continuing the replacement of the McDonnell Douglas C-9.

Neither Boeing nor the Navy could immediately be reached for further questions.

Source: Flight International