P-8A Poseidon

Based at RAAF Base Edinburgh, the P-8A Poseidon is an important part of Australia's future maritime patrol and response strategy.

The P-8A aircraft and MQ-4C Triton Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) will perform the vital functions of long-range maritime patrol and replace the AP-3C Orion. The AP-3C Orion is progressively drawing down to retirement, with the final aircraft planned for withdrawal in 2023.

The first P-8A aircraft arrived in Canberra on 16 November 2016 and all 12 aircraft were delivered by December 2019.

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 Orions.

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 will be compatible for air-to-air refuelling with the KC-30A MRTT.

Content is current as at December 2020.