A P-8A Poseidon assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 is seen in flight over Jacksonville, Fla., last year. The Navy has ordered 16 more of the maritime patrol aircraft. (Navy)
The Navy has ordered 16 additional P-8A Poseidons under a $2.4 billion contract. This will boost total orders of P-8As to 53, as manufacturer Boeing shifts from preliminary low-rate production to full production.
The Navy has already received 13 of the maritime patrol aircraft, which reached their first operational squadron last December at Kadena Air Base, Japan.
"This contract reflects the success of the program and enables us to continue delivering an advanced, cost-effective maritime patrol aircraft to the Navy," said Rick Heerdt, Boeing's P-8 program manager, in a company news release. "We delivered eight P-8s, all on or ahead of schedule in 2013, and we intend to keep that streak going in 2014."
The Navy plans to eventually order 117 P-8As, based on the 737-800 passenger jet, to replace its aging P-3 Orions. However, the latest order comes after the Pentagon's weapons testing office found serious deficiencies in the Poseidon's ISR and wide-area anti-submarine capabilities.