P-8A Poseidon

An Air Force P-8A on patrol over the Pacific Ocean.
The P-8A Poseidon is a modern, potent and highly reliable aircraft based on the commercially-proven Boeing B737-800; modified to incorporate the latest maritime surveillance and attack capabilities.
With its highly impressive technical attributes, the P-8A Poseidon brings flexibility, responsiveness and attack capability to the Joint Force in its primary roles of Anti-Submarine Warfare, Anti-Surface Warfare, Maritime Surveillance and Search and Rescue.
On 21 February 2014, the Australian Government approved the purchase of eight P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The acquisition of an additional four aircraft was approved in March 2016. Delivery of these aircraft was completed in November 2019 and in December 2020, the acquisition of a further two aircraft was approved, bringing the total force to 14 aircraft.
Operated by Royal Australian Air Force No. 11 and No. 292 Squadrons based at RAAF Base Edinburgh, under the command of Number 92 Wing (as part of Surveillance and Response Group), the aircraft has completed a number of domestic and operational deployments.
Under Project AIR 7000, a mixed fleet of piloted and remotely piloted aircraft will replace Australia’s AP-3C Orion aircraft; with the P-8A, a fundamental element of this Project.
Alongside the MQ-4C Triton Remotely piloted Aircraft System, the P-8A Poseidon aircraft fleet is a critical element of Australia’s future maritime patrol and response strategy.

About the aircraft

The P-8A Poseidon has advanced sensors and mission systems, including a state-of-the-art multi-role radar, high definition cameras, and an acoustic system with four times the processing capacity of the AP-3C Orion.

The P-8A is built specifically as a military aircraft. It is based on the proven commercial designs of Boeing's 737-800 fuselage, but has been substantially modified to include:

  • a weapons bay
  • under wing and under fuselage hard points for weapons, and
  • increased strengthening for low level (down to 200ft) operations and high angle turns.

The P-8A aircraft has an extensive communications system including radios and data links across VHF, UHF, HF and SATCOM.

An internal fuel capacity of almost 34 tonnes allows the P-8A to conduct low level anti-submarine warfare missions at a distance of greater than 2,000 kilometres from base. The P-8A is also compatible for air-to-air refueling with KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft.


Manufacturer Boeing
Role Maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and response
Crew Pilot, co-pilot, mission specialists
Engine Two CFM56-7 BE(27) engines each with 27000 lb thrust
Airframe Length: 39.5 m, height: 12.8 m
Wingspan 37.6 m
Weight 85,820 kg (max)
Max Speed 907 km/h
Range 7,500 km
41,000 feet (12,496 metres)
Capacity Sonobuoys, 11 weapons stations
Weapons Self-Protection Measures, Lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo, AGM-84 Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles