Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Australia set to acquire two more P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft

Royal Australian Air Force will expand its P-8A Poseidon fleet with two new multi-mission maritime aircraft, according to Minister for Defense, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC.

Air Force’s maritime patrol capability will be boosted with Australia set to acquire two more P-8A Poseidon surveillance and response aircraft, bringing the total fleet size to 14, according to Minister Reynolds.

“Together, the Poseidon and the Triton will provide Australia with one of the most advanced maritime patrol and response capabilities in the world,” Minister Reynolds said.

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“The Poseidon is a proven capability that will conduct tasks including anti-submarine warfare, maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and support to search and rescue missions.

“These additional aircraft will enhance Air Force’s flexibility to support multiple operations and will play an important role in ensuring Australia’s maritime region is secure for generations to come.”

“The Morrison Government’s continued investment in the Poseidon program is also creating more Australian jobs and opportunities for Australian small businesses.

“Several Australian companies are already completing work for Boeing Defense Australia, and industry investment including facilities works is over $1 billion.”

The additional Poseidon aircraft are to be purchased through our existing Cooperative Program with the United States Navy.

Minister Reynolds said being part of the Cooperative Program with the United States Navy allows Australia to share in the benefits of their technical expertise and divide project costs.

According to the Royal Australian Air Force’s website, the P-8A Poseidon has advanced sensors and mission systems, including a state-of-the-art multi-role radar, high definition cameras, and an acoustic system with four times the processing capacity of the AP-3C Orions.

The P-8A is built specifically as a military aircraft. It is based on the proven commercial designs of Boeing’s 737-800 fuselage, but has been substantially modified to include:

  • a weapons bay
  • underwing and under-fuselage hard points for weapons,
  • increased strengthening for low level (down to 200ft) operations and high angle turns.

The P-8A aircraft has an extensive communications system including radios and data links across VHF, UHF, HF and SATCOM.

An internal fuel capacity of almost 34 tonnes allows the P-8A to conduct low-level anti-submarine warfare missions at a distance of greater than 2,000 kilometers from base. The P-8A will be compatible for air-to-air refueling with the KC-30A MRTT.

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About this Author

Daisuke Sato
Daisuke Sato is defense reporter, covering the Asia-Pacific defense industrial base, defense markets and all related issues.

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