The US Department of US Department of Defense has announced the award of a contract to Boeing that includes the first long-lead items for the Norwegian P-8A Poseidon. The full contract, awarded on March 4, covers the next batch of P-8 maritime multi-mission aircraft (MMA), comprising ten aircraft for the US Navy, five for Norway and four for the United Kingdom. Deliveries of these aircraft are due to be completed by 2022.
Boeing received a $282.3m modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for procurement of long-lead parts associated with the manufacture of 19 Lot 10 P-8A aircraft. The modification combines purchases for the US Navy ($140m), the governments of Norway ($81m) and the UK ($60m) under the Foreign Military Sales programme.
In March 2017 Norway signed a contract for the acquisition of five P-8As, which will replace the P-3 fleet as well as the Dassault 20 Falcon electronic warfare aircraft of 717 Skvadron at Gardermoen. The P-8s are planned for delivery to the RNoAF during 2021-23. Both the US Navy and the Royal Air Force will operate the same aircraft, and the three nations are planning close co-operation in operations, logistics, maintenance and other maritime patrol aircraft functions, including discussions of possible operations of non-Norwegian P-8s out of Norwegian air bases.
UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced the identities of the Royal Air Force’s two frontline P-8A units during an address at the Air Power Conference 2017 in London last July. These will be Nos 120 and 201 Squadrons, both based at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland. The first of these is due to stand up in April 2018 under the command of Wg Cdr James Hanson. The first of nine P-8s will arrive in the UK in 2020. No 201 Squadron will form in 2021.