The government has announced it is to purchase an additional two P-8A Poseidons, taking Australia’s total fleet to 14.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the maritime surveillance aircraft would be purchased as part of the existing “Cooperative Program” agreement with the US Navy.
The P-8A is equipped with advanced sensors and mission systems, including an advanced radar, high-definition cameras, and an acoustic system that is said to have four times the processing capacity of the Orion.
Minister Reynolds said, “Together, the Poseidon and the Triton will provide Australia with one of the most advanced maritime patrol and response capabilities in the world.
“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 purchase forms part of the Morrison’s government’s enlarged $270 billion investment in defence over the next 10 years.
The RAAF accepted its first P-8A after a ceremony at Boeing Field, Seattle.
The news comes shortly after it was announced Australia’s F-35A Lightning II fleet passed the final regulatory hurdle required to be deployed on operations.
Over the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft as part of the $17 billion AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program – which is aimed at replacing the ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets that have been in service with the RAAF since 1985.
The F-35A – the variant chosen by the RAAF – will have with a projected life of 30 years in service and be based at RAAF Base Williamtown and Base Tindal.