The Boeing Company has received approval from the US Defense Department to sell up to nine of its P-8A Poseidon military surveillance jets to the UK in a proposed deal worth up to $3.2bn for the US-headquartered multinational manufacturer.
The US government announced the deal last week with the UK planning to use the P-8A Poseidon jets for maritime patrols and submarine hunting.
The $3.2bn deal is part of the UK’s five-year plan to increase military spending by £12bn (about $17bn) to £178bn ($260bn) over the next decade.
The deal to acquire the Boeing Poseidon jets would help the UK meet its priority for the surveillance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities the increase in military spending would achieve.
By buying the nine P-8A Poseidon jets, the UK will be filling a gap in its military and air force created after the grounding of an older jet fleet (Nimrod) in 2010 and the subsequent cancellation of a plan to replace them with British-made aircraft.
The Boeing Poseidon deal is vital for the UK as the nine jets will improve its potential to provide national defence and contribute to NATO and coalition operations, including operations against ISIL in Syria.
US Congress has 15 days to cancel the deal, but it is likely to go ahead unopposed due to the strong relationship forged between the US and the UK.
Expanding the reach of the Boeing Poseidon
The contract with the UK would build on Boeing’s ever expanding P-8A Poseidon programme, with the aircraft manufacturing leader also on contract to build 78 P-8A’s for the US Navy, with 33 already delivered.
Along with Boeing, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has named other companies such as ViaSat, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, Arnprior Aerospace and Martin Baker as other contractors on the UK’s project and initiative to build improve its defence and military capabilities.
The P-8A Poseidon is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The Boeing Poseidon is also capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations.
The Poseidon P-8A is well equipped for future warfare with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the battle areas of the future.
The UK deal is further testament to the strong international demand for Boeing’s defence products, such as military aircraft like the P-8A Poseidon.
Last year saw non-US customers account for 59% of Boeing’s revenue, and 40% of the fourth quarter defence backlog and 33% of its quarterly revenue.