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Covid-19: UK MoD monitoring effect of coronavirus on specific procurement programmes

26 March 2020
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The P-8A Poseidon MMA is one procurement programme that could potentially be affected by the coronavirus, with Boeing shutting down production at its Seattle-area facilities for 10 working days from 25 March. Source: Crown Copyright

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is monitoring the effect of coronavirus on specific procurement programmes, and is working with industry to mitigate any potential fallout from the global pandemic.

Speaking to Jane’s on 25 March, an MoD spokesperson noted that manufacturing shutdowns and other measures being adopted internationally to combat the coronavirus could affect any number of the UK’s ongoing procurement projects and supply chains.

“We are aware that the global outbreak of COVID-19 may have an impact on specific defence procurement supply chains. We will continue to work with industry to monitor how programmes might be affected,” the spokesperson said.

While the MoD did not refer to any specific programmes, one platform that could potentially be impacted by industry-led shutdowns is the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime multimission aircraft (MMA) for the Royal Air Force (RAF).

The 737-derived aircraft is built at Boeing’s Renton facility in the Puget Sound area of Seattle. On 23 March the company announced that it was temporarily suspending all production operations at its sites in this area, with the 14-day shutdown commencing on 25 March.

The RAF has to date received two of its nine P-8As, with the remaining seven all due to be delivered to the UK by the end of 2021. Jane’s understands that the next two aircraft are currently in the production facility in Seattle, and that Boeing is revising its schedules as it factors in any potential knock-on effects of the shutdown.

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