Boeing has secured a $1.49 billion contract from the US Navy for 13 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, including the first examples for Australia.

The deal covers nine aircraft for the USN and four for the Royal Australian Air Force, the company says.

“By working together since the early stages of P-8A development, the US and Australia have created one airplane configuration that serves the needs of both countries,” says Capt Scott Dillon, the former's P-8 programme manager. “The US and Australian P-8As will be able to operate with each other effectively and affordably for decades to come,” he adds.

In early 2014, Canberra approved an A$4 billion ($2.9 billion) allocation to acquire eight of the 737-derived aircraft, with options for four more. This allowed Boeing to place long lead-time orders for parts for the first four aircraft.

The P-8A will replace the RAAF’s fleet of Lockheed Martin AP-3C Orions. Canberra also intends to obtain the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned air vehicle to complement the new type.