U.S. aerospace giant Boeing was awarded a $1,5 billion contract modification to build the 18 Lot 11 P-8A maritime aircraft for the Navy; the government of New Zealand; and the Republic of Korea, the Defense Department announced on Monday.
The contract modification covers procure eight P-8A for the U.S Navy; four aircraft for the government of New Zealand and six for the Republic of Korea.
The procurement also includes a segregable effort consisting of unknown obsolescence for Lot 11, Class 1 change assessment and obsolescence monitoring as well as non-recurring engineering for the Republic of Korea.
The P-8A Poseidon, the Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, is a multi-mission capable replacement aircraft for the legacy P-3C Orion. It is a militarized version of the Boeing 737 and utilized for a wide-array of missions. It is produced along the same commercial assembly line as the 737 and then delivered to Boeing Defense for the installation of military sensors and equipment before delivery to the customer.
The P-8 can fly higher (up to 41,000 ft) and get to the fight faster (490 knots). Shorter transit times reduce the size of the Area of Probability when searching for submarines, surface vessels or search and rescue survivors. P-8 is also designed for low altitude missions and has already proven its abilities supporting humanitarian and search and rescue missions.
However, Boeing has temporarily suspended production operations at its Renton facilities, south of Seattle, in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. Its plant produces the 737 line and Navy’s P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft.