Australia Contributes More to Poseidon Program

Australia’s Defense Department contributed approximately $75.4 million ($73.9 million AUD) to the Navy’s P-8A Poseidon maritime warfare and patrol aircraft program in a sign of the US ally’s continued commitment to the US-led, multibillion-dollar acquisition effort. The Australians on Oct 5 announced the signing of the P-8A Increment 3 project arrangement with the Navy, along with their funding contribution. “This project arrangement represents the first real opportunity for Australia to influence the future capability of the P-8A, as Australia will be involved in the Increment 3 upgrade from the requirements determination phase,” states the release. This increment is expected to include a networked maritime strike weapon, air-sea rescue kit, and enhanced target tracking. Australia’s Herald Sun reported that the Australians had already contributed some $255 million to the P-8 program prior to the new funding infusion. The Royal Australian Air Force plans to operate P-8s in place of its current fleet of AP-3C Orions, which are scheduled for retirement around 2019, according to the Australian defense release. The P-8A is based on Boeing’s 737-800 airliner. (See also Poseidon Awakes.)