$140 Million Enhancements Planned for RAAF Poseidons

16 May, 2024 | News

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Image: ADF

Boeing Defence Australia has secured a contract worth $139.5 million to enhance the RAAF’s fleet of P-8A Poseidon aircraft, focusing on upgrades to their software, systems, and sensors.

The enhancement process, dubbed ‘Increment 3’, will commence with the first two aircraft in Jacksonville, Florida. Subsequent upgrades for the 12-aircraft fleet will take place at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.

To support these upgrades, Boeing Defence Australia plans to hire and train apprentices and supply chain trainees, aiming to bolster Australian skills and facilitate sustainable employment opportunities.

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy highlighted the project’s employment impact, noting the creation of 50 new jobs and the enhancement of the workforce at RAAF Base Edinburgh, which already numbers 283 employees. “This critical investment not only fosters skill development among apprentices but also strengthens our defence capabilities, ensuring the safety and security of Australians,” stated Conroy.

The P-8A Poseidon, primarily a maritime patrol aircraft, performs a variety of roles such as reconnaissance and search and rescue. Originally derived from Boeing’s 737 Next Generation aircraft, the Poseidon features state-of-the-art sensors and mission systems, including multi-role radar, high-definition cameras, sophisticated acoustic systems, and comprehensive communications equipment.

Stationed at RAAF Base Edinburgh, the Australian fleet, which recently expanded to 14 aircraft, also includes the MQ-4C Triton to further support its capabilities.

The Poseidon gained notable attention in 2022 following a close encounter with a Chinese J-16 fighter jet over the South China Sea. The incident, which led to a diplomatic stir, involved a risky manoeuvre by the J-16, compelling the Poseidon to make an emergency return to base. Defence Minister Richard Marles affirmed that such incidents would not deter the RAAF’s missions in the contested region.

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