The US Navy has awarded Boeing a $1.9 billion contract for 11 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, confirming the third phase of low-rate initial production (LRIP).

The LRIP deal follows two last year for a total of 13 aircraft, says Boeing. So far, the airframer has delivered three production P-8As.

"This contract is a stepping stone to full-rate production, and our focus remains on building Poseidon on cost and on schedule," says Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice-president and P-8 programme manager.

The P-8A, which is based on the 737-800 airliner, will eventually replace the US Navy's fleet of Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion aircraft. The navy plans to procure up to 117 P-8As.

At the 2012 Farnborough air show, president of Boeing Military Aircraft Chris Chadwick said that the type will become operational in 2013.

Source: Flight International