PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Boeing Defense, Space & Security has received a contract worth nearly $1.5 billion from the U.S. Navy for P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Under the contract from the Naval Air Systems Command, Nine of the aircraft will be for the U.S. Navy and four will be for the Royal Australian Air Force.
The planes will be manufactured under Lot 2 full-rate production work.
The Navy said the contract features an option for 20 additional aircraft -- 16 for the United States and four for Australia -- under Lot 3 production.
"The Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy have long been partners in maritime patrol, " said U.S. Navy Capt. Scott Dillon, Maritime Patrol & Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office program manager. "Australia's parallel transition from P-3C to P-8A will maximize interoperability while both forces continue to receive the benefits of a highly cost-effective, highly reliable and persistent aircraft."
Initial deliveries of P-8As are scheduled to begin in the fall of next year.
The P-8A, based on the commercial 737-800ERX airframe, is a maritime surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of performing anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and shipping interdiction missions. Weaponry varied includes torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
The Navy has so far received 28 of the aircraft, which are replacing the P-3 Orion.