Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have officially welcomed the latest P-8A Poseidon aircraft to Australia.
Minister Reynolds said the cutting-edge anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft will enhance Australia’s maritime security.
The P-8A Poseidon incorporates the latest maritime surveillance and attack capabilities, providing the government with enhanced flexibility to support multiple operations.
"This is the 12th Poseidon to join the fleet, since the first arrived in Canberra on 16 November 2016. The aircraft can be refuelled while flying by tanker aircraft such as Australia’s KC-30A, making it possible to patrol Australia’s isolated Southern Ocean territories," Minister Reynolds said.
The P-8A Poseidon is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It is capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations. It is also effective for humanitarian and search and rescue missions.
Minister Reynolds added, "The aircraft can be refuelled while flying by tanker aircraft such as Australia’s KC-30A, making it possible to patrol Australia’s isolated Southern Ocean territories.
"The P-8A is already providing significant operational support to Australia, including a recent mission to the Middle East region on Operation MANITOU as part of the International Maritime Security Construct."
Minister Price said the government was investing heavily in South Australia to support P-8A operations.
"This has provided a boost to defence industry and created more than 120 jobs for South Australians. This has provided a boost to defence industry and created more than 120 jobs for South Australians," Minister Price said.
The aircraft 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;
- Under wing and under fuselage hard points for weapons; and
- Increased strengthening for low level (down to 200 feet) operations and high angle turns.
A derivative of the 737-800 Next Generation, the P-8 combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum inter-operability in the future battlespace.
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 kilometres from base. The P-8A will be compatible for air-to-air refuelling with the KC-30A MRTT.
Australia has committed to purchasing 12 P-8A Poseidon aircraft, which will replace the ageing fleet of P-3C Orion aircraft. Australia's first aircraft arrived in Canberra on 16 November 2016, with the remaining 11 aircraft to be delivered by March 2020. IOC for the first eight P-8As is scheduled for the period 2017-2020.