SEATTLE, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The first of 12 P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force has been unveiled by Boeing at a rollout ceremony in Seattle, Wash.
The maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft, based on the design of Boeing's 737-800 fuselage, will fly to Australia in November.
"It is a privilege to accept the first Australian P-8A Poseidon aircraft," Australia's Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, said at the rollout ceremony. "The P-8A is the latest in a pedigree of Boeing aircraft that have provided important and significant operational capability to Australia."
The aircraft, used for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and shipping interdiction, features a weapons bay as well as under-wing and under-fuselage hard points for weapons. It has a maximum speed of 564 miles per hour, a combat radius of 1,200 nautical miles and a service ceiling of 41,000 feet.
Australia's Director Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Response Transition Office, Group Captain Roger McCutcheon, says the P-8A will be a fundamental element of Australia's future maritime patrol and response strategy in replacing the country's AP-3C Orion aircraft, which are slated for retirement in 2018-2019.
Boeing said the remaining 11 Poseidons for Ausstralia will be delivered by 2020.