The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing a $1.5 billion production contract for the next 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The contract includes eight aircraft for the U.S. Navy, six aircraft for the Republic of Korea Navy, and four aircraft for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The Republic of Korea Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force acquired the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive the same P-8A Poseidon variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2022 and the Republic of Korea Navy is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2023.
The P-8 is a long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft. A derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation jetliner, the P-8 is militarized with maritime weapons, modern open mission system architecture, and commercial-like support. Aircraft modifications include a bomb bay and two weapons stations on each wing. It can carry 129 sonobuoys and is fitted with an in-flight refueling system.
With more than 254,000 flight hours to date, the P-8A Poseidon and P-8I variants patrol the globe performing anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; humanitarian; and search and rescue missions.