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Poseidons for South Korea and New Zealand placed under contract

01 March 2019
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Seen here in Australian service, the P-8A is due to enter New Zealand and South Korean service also with the first long-lead production contracts awarded on 28 February. Source: Commonwealth of Australia

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Boeing an advanced acquisition award for the P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission mission aircraft (MMA) that includes the complete orders for South Korea and New Zealand.

The USD428.9 million award, which was announced on 28 February, covers long-lead material and activities in support of four aircraft for New Zealand and six for South Korea. It also covers six further aircraft for the US Navy, meaning 117 out of its programme-of-record of 120 will be under contract once the final production award is granted.

Work on this initial long-lead contract is due to be complete by June 2020.

The sale of four P-8As to New Zealand was approved by the US government in May 2017. The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) is procuring the aircraft to replace its ageing Lockheed Martin P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The country's Defence Capability Plan (DCP) 2016, which outlined military requirements over the following 15 years, indicated a retirement date for the Orions in the mid-2020s.

South Korea's procurement was approved in September 2018, with the Republic of South Korea Air Force (RoKAF) also looking to replace its fleet of ageing P-3 Orions. The State Department approval for the procurement followed an earlier decision by South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) to purchase the P-8A through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.

Derived from the Boeing 737-800 commercial airliner (but with 737-900 wings), the P-8A Poseidon has been built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, GE Aviation, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Spirit AeroSystems.

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