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Australian MoD approves the acquisition of two P-8A Poseidon surveillance and response aircraft.

| 2020

According to a statement published by the Australian Department of Defence on December 30, 2020, the Australian MoD (Ministry of Defense) has approved the acquisition of two more P-8A Poseidon surveillance and response aircraft, bringing the total fleet size to 14.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon supports sea trials for the NUSHIP Hobart in the Gulf St Vincent off the coast of Adelaide. Picture source Australia MoD)

The Australian Government has committed to acquiring 15 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. 12 P-8A Maritime Patrol Aircraft have been approved for acquisition, and three are subject to normal Government Defence acquisition approval processes.

The first aircraft arrived in Australia on 16 November 2016, and the remaining 11 will be delivered by March 2023. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the first eight P-8A aircraft was scheduled for 2017-2020.

The P-8A Poseidon (P-8A) is the U.S. Navy's multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. The P-8A efficiently conducts anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and humanitarian response. These capabilities are enhanced through secure, interoperable, net-ready systems. While the aircraft is also equipped with high-quality weapon systems, it also has an open architecture to allow for expansion.

The P-8A Poseidon is manufactured by the American company Boeing and incorporates the 737-800 airframe, -900 wings, a weapons bay and pylons, and operates with a smaller crew. However, it delivers an extended global reach, greater payload capacity, higher operating altitude, and state-of-the-art sensors, radars and open-systems architecture.

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. It can fly at a maximum speed of 907 km/h with a maximum range of 7,500 km. 

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