WASHINGTON — Boeing has inked a contract with the U.S. Navy to produce five P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft destined for the German sea service, the company announced.

The Sept. 28 award marks the latest step in Germany’s quest for urgently needed replacements for its aging P-3C Orion planes. Officials have said the Poseidon aircraft fit Germany’s requirement of offering a mix of sensor capabilities and combat punch needed to target adversarial submarines in an increasingly sophisticated subsurface arms race.

Earlier this summer, German lawmakers approved the purchase in principle. On the table was a $1.1 billion quote from the U.S. government for five aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales channel. Adding taxes, training, spares and support would bring the total price tag to about €1.4 billion (U.S. $1.6 billion).

Germany is set to start receiving the new aircraft as of 2024, according to a Boeing statement.

“We’re pleased to have finalized this sale to Germany and to expand our footprint in-country by bringing the P-8A and its unique multi-mission capabilities to the German Navy,” Michael Hostetter, vice president at Boeing Defense, Space & Security in Germany, said in the statement.

Despite Germany finalizing its P-8 acquisition, a defense spokeswoman told Defense News that Berlin would stick to previous plans with France to jointly develop the Maritime Airborne Warfare System, an entirely new sub-hunting weapon slated to take flight around 2035.

French officials were miffed that Germany would buy new Poseidons for the intervening years, possibly decreasing Germany’s appetite to start another development relatively soon, French newspaper La Tribune reported earlier this summer, citing unnamed sources.

The French Armed Forces Ministry did not return an email requesting information about the government’s position in the matter. Paris has not conveyed information to that end to Berlin, either, the German defense spokeswoman told Defense News.

Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, and on U.S.-Europe cooperation and multi-national investments in defense and global security. Previously he served as managing editor for Defense News. He is based in Cologne, Germany.

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