Australia’s maritime patrol capability will soon be boosted, with the RAAF set to acquire two more P-8A Poseidon surveillance and response aircraft, bringing the total fleet size to 14.
The Government has also approved sustainment funding for the current approved fleet of three MQ-4C Triton aircraft.
Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, said the announcement is part of an “unprecedented” $270-billion investment in defence capability over the next decade.
“Together, the Poseidon and the Triton will provide Australia with one of the most advanced maritime patrol and response capabilities in the world,” Reynolds said.
Poseidon is a multi-role maritime aircraft
“The Poseidon [has] a proven capability [and] will conduct tasks including anti-submarine warfare, maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and support to search and rescue missions.”
According to the minister, the additional aircraft will enhance the RAAF’s flexibility to support multiple operations and will play an important role in ensuring Australia’s maritime region is secure.
The continued investment in the Poseidon program was also create more local jobs and opportunities for small businesses. Several Australian companies are already completing work for Boeing Defence Australia and industry investment, including facilities works, is over $1-billion.
Australia’s additional Poseidon aircraft are to be purchased through an existing Cooperative Program with the United States Navy. Reynolds said being part of the program allows Australia to share in the benefits of US Navy’s technical expertise and divide project costs.
Advanced long-range anti-ship capacity
The Poseidon is a highly versatile, long-endurance aircraft capable of a range of mission types, including maritime intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as striking targets above and below the ocean’s surface.
Planned integration of the long-range anti-ship missile into RAAF capability will also allow it to strike enemy surface vessels at significantly increased ranges.
The P-8 is operated by a number of armed forces, including the Indian Navy, the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Royal Norwegian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and the Republic of Korea Navy.