The P-8A Poseidon will provide Air Force with an advanced maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and response aircraft.
The P-8A Poseidon uses advanced sensors and mission systems, including an advanced multi-role radar, high definition cameras, and an acoustic system with four times the processing capacity of Air Force’s current AP-3C Orions. Together with the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, the P-8A aircraft will replace the AP-3C Orions.
Planned for RAAF Base Edinburgh, the 15 P-8A aircraft have an extensive communications suite that includes radios and data links across the VHF, UHF, HF and SATCOM spectrums.An internal fuel capacity of almost 34 tonnes, gives the P-8A the ability to remain on station conducting low level anti-submarine warfare missions at a distance of greater than 2,000 kilometres from base. The P-8A will be compatible for air-to-air refuelling with the KC-30A MRTT.
The first aircraft will be delivered in 2017, with all eight aircraft fully operational by 2021.
The P-8A is built from the ground up as a military aircraft. It is based on the proven commercial designs of Boeing’s 737-800 fuselage, but is substantially structurally modified to include a bomb bay, under wing and under fuselage hard points for weapons, as well as increased strengthening to allow for continued low level (down to 200 ft) operations and 60° angle of bank turns.
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the P-8A is scheduled for the period 2017 - 2020.