Boeing has received a $1.5 billion production contract for 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft including 8 for the US Navy, six for the South Korean Navy and four for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The Republic of Korea Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force acquired the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive the same P-8A Poseidon variant designed and produced for the US Navy. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2022 and the Republic of Korea Navy is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2023.
The P-8 is a military derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation airplane militarized with maritime weapons, a modern open mission system architecture and commercial-like support for affordability.
The aircraft is modified to include a bomb bay and pylons for weapons. It has two weapons stations on each wing and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refueling system.
The P-8A Poseidon and P-8I variants patrol the globe performing anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; humanitarian; and search and rescue missions.
Boeing last week announced a work suspension at its facility in Washington state due to the coronavirus pandemic. The facility assembles KC-46 Pegasus tanker and P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance jet among other aircraft made there.