Australia is purchasing eight P-8A Poseidon planes, similar to this one, to use as patrol aircraft. (Wikimedia Commons)
Australia will purchase eight P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The first aircraft will be delivered by 2017, with all eight flying by 2021, according to the Australian Ministry of Defense announcement. The Australian government has also approved an optional purchase off four more aircraft depending on a Defense White Paper review.
The A$4 billion (U.S. $3.6 billion) acquisition will replace Australia's aging P-3 Orions with the Poseidon, which is based on Boeing's 737-800 airliner. "These state-of-the-art aircraft will dramatically boost Australia’s ability to monitor its maritime approaches and patrol over 2.5 million square kilometers of our marine jurisdiction – an area equating to nearly 4 per cent of the world’s oceans," said the Ministry of Defense. The Poseidons will work with UAVs and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) aircraft to patrol natural resource areas, including energy deposits off northern Australia.
Australian businesses have already won approximately A$8.5 million of work by participating in the P-8 program, and stand go gain as much as A$1 billion through maintenance contracts and construction of new facilities at Royal Australian Air Force Base Edinburgh in South Australia.