Australia acquiring maritime patrol planes

Feb. 21, 2014 at 2:57 PM

CANBERRA, Australia, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Australia is acquiring eight Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft from the United States to boost its maritime patrol capability.

The first aircraft will be delivered in 2017, the Australian Department of Defense announced Friday, and all eight aircraft will be operational by 2021.

The P-8A is based on the 737-800 commercial airliner and can be equipped with torpedoes and Harpoon missiles. It has a cruise speed of more than 440 knots and a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles.

Acquisition of the eight aircraft – including the building of support facilities – will cost Australia about $3.59 billion.

"This project will offer significant opportunities for industry and jobs creation." The Department of Defense said. "Australian businesses have already won approximately $7.62 million of work associated with Australia's participation in the P-8A program and stand to benefit ... through construction of facilities at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia and elsewhere and work to meet maintenance and other support needs."

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